We're not even a fourth of the way through 2017, and the United States has already seen a series of devastating wildfires. The incidents stress the importance of wildfire preparedness, which among local fire departments is lacking, according to a recent NFPA report. I wrote about the report in "Not Ready for Prime Time," an article in the current issue of NFPA Journal.
The report, "Wildland/Urban Interface: Fire Department Wildfire Preparedness and Readiness Capabilities," found deficiencies in firefighter safety, training, and equipment related to wildland firefighting. Forty-six senior fire officials from departments across the country were interviewed for the report, and some of their quotes are included in my article. "[Wildfire] training is sorely needed," said one fire official from Nevada. Another from Florida spoke of the need to improve respiratory protection for firefighters engaged in wildland firefighting.
The full report, which was released in January, can be downloaded from NFPA's wildland fire reports and statistics page.
Earlier this month, seven people died in wildfires that swept across Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas, torching over a million acres of land, killing cattle, and crippling ranchers' livelihood. At the same time, brush fires challenged firefighters in Florida, and just this weekend, hundreds were evacuated from their homes as a wildfire spread through Colorado.