PINEDALE – Last Monday, the National Association of County Officers (NACO) passed a resolution to support the continuation of programs that provide surplus military equipment to state and local governments for use in fighting wildfires.
Laramie County Commissioner Buck Holmes introduced the resolution at the annual NACO conference in New Orleans last week.
Recently, the Department of Defense’s (DOD) Defense Logistics Agency halted the transfer of wildfire equipment, including trucks, pumps, generators and engine parts. The DOD cited Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations, as most of the military equipment being given to counties did not comply with emission standards.
Kelli Little, communications coordinator for the Wyoming County Commissioners Association, explained passing the resolution is NACO’s way of showing the organization has a united voice and feels the fire equipment is important to county efforts to extinguish local blazes. With this resolution, NACO can work with national departments to attempt to reacquire the equipment.
Until recently, the surplus military equipment has been made available to state and local governments through two federal programs, the Federal Excess Property Program and the Firefighter Property Program. To date, the programs have resulted in a transfer of $150 million in wildland fire equipment to states and counties, and over the past five years, Wyoming has received more than $4.5 million worth of engines and tools to help subdue burns. Across the U.S., local departments need the wildland fire equipment. So far in 2014, 83 percent of all wildfires have been responded to by either state or local fire agencies, even though many of the fires occur on federal land.
For the complete article see the 07-22-2014 issue.
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