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Wildfire Response

The Bureau of Indian Affairs provides a comprehensive wildfire response by supporting local BIA agencies and Tribes’ personnel development, supplying equipment, and providing interagency coordination.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) provides wildland fire response and all-risk support to Indian Country, other lands within the United States and international partners protecting communities, homes, infrastructure, forests, pastures, watersheds, game habitat and Tribal enterprises.

The Division of Wildland Fire Management (DWFM) supports firefighters trained to interagency standards and qualifications, develops Incident Command System (ICS) trained personnel, and sponsors seven Interagency Hotshot Crews (IHC).

To support its wildfire response, the BIA maintains a wildland fire engine fleet developed to meet the demands of wildland fire and all-risk response, including over 240 engines of varying types and 12 aircraft to support fire suppression activities across Indian Country.

The BIA continues to evaluate and develop other resources to ensure the wildfire response program continues to build capability to meet communities’ changing needs.

Some components of the BIA’s wildfire response include:

Firefighting aircraft coordinate with hand crews to strategically release water and fire retardant to abate the spread of wildfire.

The BIA National Aviation and Safety Program assists Tribal and BIA-led fire aviation programs by providing policy, program coordination, firefighter training, and support for aircraft contracting and acquisition.  

Hand crews are teams of 18-20 firefighters that respond to fire incidents by working and camping in the field in remote areas nearby wildfires. Hand crews manage fire by cutting and clearing vegetation to create “fire lines” that slow the spread of wildfire, coordinating with firefighting aircraft, as well as other containment operations.

The BIA provides funds, supports, and provides policy and training for hand crews to protect communities and natural resources.

  • Interagency Hotshot Crews

Interagency Hotshot Crews (IHCs) are teams of the most experienced, fit, and highly trained wildland firefighters that respond to the hottest and most complex parts of wildfires. IHC’s are sponsored by the BIA, Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, United States Forest Service, and a few local government fire departments. Although IHC’s are sponsored by various bureaus and departments, they are considered national resources with great pride and respect and managed to meet national priorities set by the National Multi Agency Coordinating Group.

Since the founding of the Fort Apache IHC at the Fort Apache Reservation in 1982, many distinguished Native American IHCs have been assembled. The BIA currently sponsors seven IHCs based on American Indian reservations:

While the BIA is responsible for wildfire response in Indian Country, structure fires are managed by other agencies and governments. For information about structural fire suppression contact the Tribal, State, or local government in your area.

Start Here

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Additional Information

Contact Us

Division of Wildland Fire Management
National Interagency Fire Center, 3383 S. Development Ave.
Boise, ID 83705

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