Wildland Fire Overview
The North Carolina Forest Service has the responsibility of protecting state and privately owned forest land from wildfires. The Fire Control program is managed on a cooperative basis with all 100 counties. Emphasis in the program include fire prevention efforts; preparedness activities (including training of agency and non-agency personnel); mitigation; aggressive suppression efforts on all wildfires; and law enforcement follow-up.
Staff assistance in forest fire control is provided to field units by the Forest Protection Section's Fire Staff, consisting of a Program Head, Senior Staff Forester for Training, Staff Forester for Operations and B.R.I.D.G.E, Staff Forester for Research and Development and a Law Enforcement Staff of four investigators.
The forest service uses a variety of tools and equipment required to manage prescribed fire and aggressively suppress wildfires across the state's diverse forest ecosystems, wide-ranging terrain and extensive Wildland/Urban Interface (WUI). County forest rangers coordinate the use of hand crews, fire engines, dozers, tractor-plows, aircraft, helicopters, pumps and other resources.
The agency has an extensive training program in forest fire protection, is National Incident Management System (NIMS) compliant, and is designated by the state as an emergency response agency. All NIMS training courses are used in the fire organization and fire behavior training. The Incident Command System (ICS) is used to organize and manage all forest fires. The ICS is an all hazard organization designed for management of natural and man-caused disasters other than wars.
Maintaining a well trained, proficient forest fire control organization is very similar to maintaining a well trained army. New personnel are constantly being trained to preserve capabilities. Veteran fire fighters regularly undergo refresher training in suppression tactics, strategy, organization and management.