It has come to the attention of the Wildland Firefighter Guardian Institute (WFGI) that they are starting to use law enforcement officers, border patrol agents, and military to dig wild fire lines. This has caused some concern for us. We highly respect the job that these people do. We do not believe that digging fire lines is their expertise. When a crew starts to place a fire line, there is a lot of fire science behind it. Crews have passed pack tests and carry red cards, because this job is not just digging a ditch. As a wildland firefighter cannot take on the responsibilities of these other groups, we believe they cannot do ours. We believe this is a safety issue for all involved. Another aspect of concern, for us, is the shortage of people who have experience and the qualifications for wildland crews. Our communities, states, and federal government, need to step up with the realization that wildfires are now year round. There is a huge need to have an accredited school of wildland fire that runs year-round. Plus, there should no longer be temporary seasonal employees. We ask, hope, and pray that this practice of using others to do the work that needs to be done will stop, before a tragedy occurs.
If you hear or see any activity that concerns you please feel free to contact the WFGI. All communications will be kept in strict confidence. If any of you have designed a new tool or have an idea on how to pro actively help the wildland firefighter community please let us know. The WFGI ‘s mission is truth, transparency, accountability and change. We have three distinct departments: education (community, family and crew), support (community, family and crew), and research & analysis (tools, technology, investigation)