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Fire and Aviation Management

The Fire and Aviation Management group helps the 20 Northeastern and Midwestern States deliver comprehensive wildland fire management programs, including providing grants and technical assistance. The goal is to protect people, property, and resources while encouraging an integrated, well balanced fire management program in each State. Our forests and grasslands are important to our quality of life now and for future generations. Comprehensive fire management programs help ensure well managed, healthy forests and grasslands in these 20 States - home for more than 40 percent of Americans.

- View our featured resources and publications in the Fire topic page, or search our full Publications & Resources Library.

- Learn more about the National Fire and Aviation Management Program.

Our Program and Services

Aviation Management provides aeronautical leadership and direction concerning the safe and efficient use of aircraft to control forest fires.

The Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry (NA S&PF) aviation program works closely with State fire project managers, cooperators, Federal partners, and private industry contractors that use single and multi-engine airplanes and helicopters in fire-related missions and assignments. Aircraft are commonly used for aerial fire reconnaissance, initial-attack and extended-attack fire suppression. Safety and security of project personnel, equipment, facilities, and materials, related to fire assignments and missions, are also elements in the Aviation Management program.

Through contractors, NA S&PF uses aircraft for a wide variety of purposes, including fire reconnaissance, aerial suppression, forest health protection, forest rehabilitation, aerial photography, aerial sketchmapping, infrared detection, remote-sensing, research, environmental monitoring, law enforcement and personnel transport. NA S&PF provides leadership and technical assistance to State cooperators who contract or operate aircraft for projects funded by various levels of government and private industry.

The primary mission of the NA S&PF Aviation Program is to provide leadership to cooperators, partners, and customers in the management and administration of an aviation program, and to manage aviation resources in the safest, most secure, efficient and cost-effective manner. To support this mission, we transfer technical knowledge and expertise in aeronautical science, promote aviation safety and security, and conduct aircraft maintenance inspections and program management reviews. We also provide training in aviation administration, operations, safety and security for personnel involved in aviation operations within the agencies of the local, State and Federal governments.

Forest Service Aviation

Federal Excess Personal Property and Fire Fighter Equipment Programs allow the Forest Service to acquire equipment and loan it to State forestry agencies, who in turn loan it to rural fire departments under cooperative agreements.

In 1949, the Congress enacted the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act.  The purpose of this law was to make Federal excess trucks and equipment available to civilian organizations to protect and assist the citizenry. The NA S&PF administers this program through cooperative agreements with the 20 Northeast and Midwest State forestry agencies. The program provides trucks, heavy equipment, and aircraft to support State and local fire agencies. More than 13,000 pieces of equipment valued at more than 226 million dollars have been recycled for public service.

Under the Federal Excess Personal Property (FEPP) program, Federal property, originally purchased for use by a Federal agency, but no longer needed by that entity, is acquired by the USDA Forest Service for loan to one of the 50 States or the Territories for use in the State's rural or wildland fire protection program. As a result, the equipment stays in service to America, protecting lives and property across the nation. 

Contact your State FEPP Manager for more information.

tate Fire Assistance offers grants and technical assistance to State and local fire organizations. 

The Northeastern Area of the US Forest Service through the State Fire Assistance program provide financial support and technical fire program assistance within the 20 northeastern states. These are given directly to State forest fire protection organizations to enhance the firefighting capacity of State, local, and rural organizations. Funds maybe passed to organizations approved by the State to conduct special projects. These not only include assistance to local fire agencies, but community-based wildfire hazard mitigation efforts, fire plan development, and fire-adapted ecosystem restoration. Grants provided under the program are on a 50-50 cost-share basis and allow State and local matching funds to leverage the Federal investment. 

There are two primary areas of emphasis:

  • Preparedness – Increase the ability of local, rural, and state organizations to provide coordinated fire protection and mobilization for fire suppression on both federal and non-federal lands.
  • Hazard Mitigation – Supports State coordinated hazard mitigation activities in the wildland-urban interface, focused on reducing property loss, decreasing fuels hazards, increasing public awareness, developing fire plans and citizen-driven solutions in rural communities.

Contact:  State Forest Service office:

Related Web site(s ): Cohesive Fire Strategy Request For Proposals

Eligible Applicants: State forestry agencies and organizations selected by the State to pass along funds to designated projects. 

Volunteer Fire Assistance provides fire and safety equipment and training to volunteer fire departments and helps organize new departments in unprotected communities.

The VFA program, formerly known as the Rural Community Fire Protection program, is administered by State Forestry agencies through 50-50 cost -sharing grants to local fire departments located in rural communities. The program's main goal is to provide Federal financial, technical, and other assistance in the organization, training and equipping of fire departments in rural areas, which are defined as having a population of 10,000 or less. Contact your State forestry agency for grant application forms and deadlines.

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