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Forestry Protection Programs
Louisiana’s Wildland Urban Interface Program
In the past ten years more the 50 families across the state have lost their homes to wildland fire and more than 1,000 outbuildings destroyed.
Unfortunately this number is growing as more families seek the benefits of rural homes. This area, where development meets wildland, is identified as the Wildland Urban Interface and is fast becoming the most hazardous of both wildland and structural firefighting.
In 2000, the Louisiana Department of Agriculture & Forestry (LDAF) recognized this threat to our homeowners in rural communities, or on the outskirts of cities growing into the Wildland environment, and established the Louisiana WUI Program in order to prevent the ignition of homes and structures during a wildland fire event. It is the goal of LDAF to prevent all home and structure ignitions from wildland fire. Research has shown that simple precautions can prevent most if not all home or structure ignitions even in the event of a wildland fire occurrence in close proximity.
LDAF has adopter the slogans “WILDFIRE: The Next Storm” and “Prevention: A Home’s Best Defense from WILDFIRE” as a means of alerting Louisiana homeowners of the threat. In a very real sense wildfire may well be the next catastrophic storm faced by our rural homeowners. Prevention is absolutely the best defense that homeowners can provide for themselves.
Recognizing that in many cases homeowners across Louisiana do not realize the threat, LDAF works with partners at every level of the state to educate homeowner on the steps they can take to protect their homes from wildland fire. The Louisiana Firewise Program is part of a national program recognizing those communities working with LDAF in protecting the homes in their community from loss. As funds become available, LDAF provides funding to communities and Fire Departments to address concerns identified as “increasing the potential of home ignition during a wildland fire.”
For additional information or if you are a homeowner and wish to know more about how you can protect your home, please contact the LDAF WUI/Firewise officials listed below. Communities interested in becoming a “Firewise USA Community” or applying for funding are also urged to contact the LDAF WUI/Firewise officials listed below.
Volunteer Fire Assistance Program
HISTORY: The Volunteer Fire Assistance program (VFA) is a 50-50% matching federally funded grant program designed to provide funds to qualifying fire departments to be used to organize, train, and equip the department for the “prevention and suppression of fires.” The VFA program was originally authorized in Title IV of Public Law 92-419, “The Rural Development Act of 1972.” The act has been amended; the VFA Program is now contained in Section 10(b)3 of the Cooperative Forestry Assistance Act.
VFA funds are dispersed through the United States Forest Service to participating state agencies. The Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry, Office of Forestry, is responsible for the promotion, application review and the dispersal of VFA funding within the state. VFA funding must be matched on a 50-50 basis by non-federal dollars.
ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS: For a complete listing of eligibility requirements, please visit: www.fs.fed.us/fire/partners/vfa/help/table_of_contents.htm or contact the Office of Forestry.
- Any fire department that is based in a community, with a population of 10,000 or less (latest Census), is eligible to apply for funding under the VFA program.
- Departments that serve a population greater than 10,000 are eligible to apply if the department is a “multi-community” department, providing no single community served has a population greater than 10,000. A department or fire district is considered to be “multi-community” if within the official area served there exists two or more recognized communities, each of which must contribute financial support toward, and combine other resources for the operation of a single department serving all of the communities involved.
- A single community fire department serving a population greater than 10,000 and NOT providing protection to a rural community is not eligible for VFA financial assistance.
- Fire Departments must be NIMS compliant. NIMS compliance information can be found here.
Louisiana’s Certified Prescribed Burner Program
In 1993 the Louisiana Legislature passed Act # 589 authorizing the Louisiana Department of Agriculture & Forestry (LDAF) to implement and administer the Louisiana Certified Prescribed Burner program.
Prior to this law anyone conducting a prescribed burn was, based on state law, involved in a “inherently hazardous activity” and as such if any damage could be linked to the burn the burner was automatically at fault and liable for said damages. Act # 589 identifies and defines a Certified Prescribed Burner and instructs LDAF to conduct the needed training for burners to meet the standards for identification as a Certified Prescribed Burner. The Act further stipulates that Certified Prescribed Burners are held to the same standards of proof of negligence in court as any other professional.
In order to meet the standards for identification as a Certified Prescribed Burner an individual must:
Have received either formal or “on the job” training in prescribed burning. Formal courses are taught by the LSU Cooperative Extension Service: www.lsuagcenter.com
- Conducted five burns as the supervising professional.
- Burn with a written Prescribed Burn Plan.
- Adhere to all Louisiana Voluntary Smoke Management Guidelines and Voluntary Best Management Practice Guidelines.
- Meet the Louisiana Notification of Burn directives.
- Successfully pass the certification exam with a score of 70% or higher.
Federal Excess Property Program
What is Federal Excess Personal Property?
The Federal Excess Personal Property program (FEPP) refers to equipment, loaned to State Forestry agencies by the United States Forest Service (U.S.F.S.), for the purpose of wildland and rural firefighting services(Cooperative Forestry Assistance Act of 1978, PL 95-313). The majority of this property is excess Department of Defense equipment.
IMPORTANT: State Forestry agencies are able to sub-loan this equipment to local fire departments and V.F.D.’s through written agreements. This property remains titled to the U.S.F.S. and must be accounted for. FEPP equipment is made available, at NO COST, to qualified departments. Equipment will be made available “as is.” The majority of the equipment may require small monetary spending to ready the equipment for fire fighting purposes.
What are some of the responsibilities by the Fire Department?
The acquiring fire department agrees to accept the FEPP equipment “as is.” Equipment received must be refurbished, equipped, repaired and maintained at the department’s cost. LDAF will not bear any of the expenses putting the equipment into service.All vehicles and trailers MUST be registered and licensed by the fire department through the LA. Motor Vehicle Department. If applicable, liability insurance coverage must be retained during the service life of the equipment by the fire department. A copy of insurance policies MUST be provided to LDAF.Equipment must be placed into service within 1 year after acquirement.All military or governmental logos, insignias, and identification numbers must be removed. Equipment must be painted when the existing paint is badly deteriorated, faded, peeling, or the paint is camouflage, Olive drab or any other military color.
In case of loss, theft, damaged or vandalized property, the department is required to notify LDAF within 48 hours of the occurrence. Upon notification, LDAF will submit appropriate documents to the department for completion of report.
What happens when the fire department is finished with the equipment?
The department should contact LDAF when equipment is no longer needed. Inoperable, cannibalized or seldom used equipment will be reallocated or disposed of by LDAF personnel. LDAF will facilitate all required documents to complete the disposal or reallocation process.
- US Forest Service Federal Excess Personal Property Program (Web site)
- Initial Request for FEPP Equipment form (PDF, 22 KB)
- Certificate of Insurance form (PDF, 22 KB)
- Change in Administration form (fire department contact information) (PDF, 19 KB)
- Roscommon Equipment Center Web site (Web site)
- Jackson, Mississippi NWS Forecast Office
- Louisiana Keetch-Byram Drought Index
- Observed Fire Danger Class
- Southeast Region Keetch-Byram Drought Index