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Purpose of Reviews

Frequency of Reviews

Levels of Reviews

Composition of Review Teams




The USDA Forest Service is authorized to loan property to State foresters under cooperative agreements (Cooperative Forestry Assistance Act of 1978, PL 95-313). This property remains titled to the Forest Service and must be accounted for (inventoried) regularly and used within program guidelines. The review process is designed to identify areas of program weakness before they can become problems. Also, because FEPP is a cooperative program, identifying shortfalls on the part of the Forest Service is an important component of the review process.

A plan to correct weaknesses is the second major component of the review. Setting realistic completion dates for actions and establishing a followup process is part of that. The third component is identifying the commendable actions or processes that keep the FEPP program active and productive. These will be shared with other States.


Each State should be considered for a review at not less than 3-year intervals. There are several good reasons the Forest Service might choose not to do a review. These reasons include but are not limited to:

  • The State recently thoroughly audited or reviewed the FEPP Program, and the report reflected no reasons that a Federal review would be considered necessary.
  • The State forestry agency using FEPP has an outstanding internal control system that was recently tested and was found to be working as intended.
  • Forest Service personnel with FEPP responsibilities work closely with the State forestry agency and are personally aware that FEPP is being used and managed properly.
  • A functional assistance trip was made to the State by any of the Forest Service staff having responsibility for FEPP (State and Private Forestry, Fire Staff; Acquisition Management); if the documented results of the trip indicated that the State program was working as needed.
  • A formal review of related programs dealt significantly with FEPP and identified no problems. An example might be a property management review of the region/area that looked closely at the management of FEPP property.

The decision whether a Federal FEPP review is required should be made jointly by representatives of the three Forest Service staffs responsible for FEPP. The decision should be documented and made part of the State's record with the Forest Service.

The State forester may have FEPP included in State reviews of the fire program, procurement program, property program, or other State reviews.


Forest Service direction for Cooperative Forestry Assistance Reviews is found in FSM 1460; three levels of reviews are described:

  • Cooperative Management Review (CMR): A review conducted by the top line officers of the State forestry agency and the Forest Service to evaluate the organizational and administrative environment in which the cooperative forestry programs operate, including the managerial processes of both the State and the Forest Service.
  • Cooperative Program Review (CPR): A Forest Service and State review team examine all cooperatively funded activities that contribute to a single program in the State. A CPR may be conducted of one or more closely related activities within a cooperative forestry assistance program.
  • Technical Assistance and Service Trips: These may cover a single activity or an entire program. Service trips and other forms of technical assistance may result from either a State request or a perceived need by the Forest Service.


Reviews are performed by personnel from the State forester's office and the regional office of the Forest Service. The review team should include, as a minimum:

    • The regional/area FEPP manager
    • The State FEPP manager
    • The Forest Service regional/area PMO
    • A representative of the fire unit if the FEPP program is administered by a State staff unit other than the fire unit.
    • The regional aviation officer (if the State has FEPP aircraft)
    • The State aviation manager (if the State has FEPP aircraft)

Desirable team members include:

    • The fire chief
    • A representative from a sister State
    • A representative from a local fire department


Before visiting State offices, the following information should be gathered:

    1. What is the chain of command in the State for the acquisition, assignment, and disposal of FEPP? Specify names, titles, and span of authority.
    2. Who has screening authority? List names, duty stations, and expiration dates of screeners' cards. Estimate the percentage of the total acquisition each screener accomplishes. How do screeners know what to freeze?
    3. Once the property is acquired, which entity is responsible for the rehabilitation? If local fire departments bear that responsibility, how does the State ensure that the process is completed?
    4. Once the property is acquired, how is it assigned? If there is a formal process, document it. If there is not, explain why. In either case, comment on the functionality of the process.
    5. Obtain a current Forest Service property inventory. Randomly select 10 percent of the inventoried items. Ascertain the current location of these items. Determine the method for reviewing them: 1) physical inspection by the review team; 2) physical inspection by State disinterested party; 3) physical inspection by Forest Service disinterested party; 4) inventory form to be certified by the custodian, with random physical inspection by one of the above parties. NOTE: In consultation with the other responsible Forest Service Staffs, a percentage other than 10 percent may be chosen. The reasons should be documented.
    6. Select a reasonable number of transfer documents (no fewer than 10) to track through the audit trail in the State offices to the physical item. No more than half of these transfer documents should refer to items selected above.
    7. When was the last physical inventory conducted by the State? Does it reasonably reflect an actual physical inventory rather than merely a paperwork reconciliation or a casual certification? Were the resulting updates accomplished by Forest Service property management? What was the status of the 10-percent items (Item 5, above) as of this inventory?
    8. Establish the review itinerary. Plan to visit as many of the 10-percent sample as is possible. Once site visits are established, ascertain other property assigned there by the State.


The review documentation shall be in the following format. Comments and commendations should be added where appropriate.

A. Review team participants' names and titles

B. Description of the scope and impact of the FEPP program on the state's fire program.

C. Itinerary

D. Complete the following checklist. On the "Critical Item" list, any "NO" response requires an action item. Any "NO" response on items 1 through 12 requires notification to the Washington Office of the Forest Service, and a written plan to make corrections. If the plan is not followed, the Forest Service should consider suspending new acquisitions until the situation is corrected.

    1. Are physical inventories being conducted every 2 years? __ __
    2. Were items selected for sampling found in the expected locations? __ __
    3. Were items selected for sampling found in proper program use? __ __
    4. Is the State providing receipt copies of transfer orders to the Forest Service with complete information? __ __
    5. Were the selected transfer document audit trails complete, including the internal transfers? __ __
    6. Are the physical inventory results being reconciled with the Forest Service inventory? __ __
    7. Is the Forest Service entering property inventory information correctly and promptly? __ __
    8. Does the State have a formal disposal process? __ __
    9. Is the disposal process being followed consistently? __ __
    10. Is there a formal process in place to resolve concerns identified during reviews or audits? __ __
    11. Have action items from the last review/audit been cleared? __ __
    12. Does the State have a formal process for ensuring proper programmatic use of FEPP? __ __
    13. Are there written agreements with each local fire department for the use and care of FEPP? __ __
    14. Are those agreements current, with signatures that are still valid? __ __
    15. Do the agreements cover all the equipment? __ __
    16. Has all unused or neglected equipment been reported for disposal? __ __
    17. Were the inspected items appropriately stored and maintained? __ __
    18. Is equipment identified as FEPP? __ __
    19. Is there a formal process for assignment of equipment? __ __
    20. Is the formal process for assignment being followed consistently? __ __
    21. Are screeners' cards current? __ __
    22. Is rehabilitation being accomplished in a timely manner? __ __
    23. Is modification done properly and safely? __ __
    24. Does the State have a way to ensure liability insurance is carried on all vehicles? __ __
    25. Do screeners have access to the FEPP Desk Guide? __ __
    26. Does the State process for signing out warehoused property, whether to local fire department personnel or to State employees, provide assurance that program rules are being followed? __ __
    27. Does a paper audit of State noninventoried property records indicate that the State knows where it is, and takes proper steps to be sure that it remains in service or is disposed of properly? __ __

E. A "NO" on the Standard Item checklist MAY require an action item:

    1. Is the State forester knowledgeable about the FEPP program and State responsibilities? __ __
    2. Does the State clearly justify unusual requests? __ __
    3. Is there regular contact between the State forestry staff and local firefighters? __ __
    4. Does the State have regulations and policies in place for the FEPP program? __ __
    5. Does the State use electronic screening/freezing to facilitate acquisition? __ __
    6. Are permissions obtained prior to cannibalization? __ __
    7. Are cannibalizations completed within 18 months and the carcasses disposed of properly? __ __
    8. Are boneyards, if any, kept to a minimum? __ __

F. For States with FEPP aircraft, also complete the "Aircraft Critical Item" list. Any "NO" response requires an action item and requires notification to the Washington Office of the Forest Service, and a written plan to make corrections. If the plan is not followed, the Forest Service should consider suspending new aircraft and aircraft parts acquisitions until the situation is corrected.

    1. Are use logs accurate and up-to-date? __ __
    2. Are records for flight-safety-critical and other time/life parts kept accurately? __ __
    3. Are undocumented scrap parts being sufficiently destroyed to prevent unauthorized movement into private hands? __ __
    4. Is the use of aircraft within the 90/10 rule? __ __
    5. Are maintenance records in compliance with FAA regulations? __ __

G. Attach a narrative explaining each "NO" response.

H. With the State, complete an action plan. Each "NO" item from the Critical Item List and the Aircraft Critical List (for States with FEPP aircraft) must be addressed. Each "NO" item from the Standard List must be noted, and if no action is needed, an explanation should be included.

At a minimum, Action Plans will include the following:

    1. Item list identification
    2. Scope of concern
    3. Action required
    4. Responsible party
    5. Due date
    6. Target date for final closure.

Closure should normally require no more than 6 months. The review may not be closed out until all actions have been completed and documented. Failure by the State to complete action items may be grounds for suspension of program. Failure by the Forest Service to complete action items may be grounds for disciplinary action.


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FEPP Desk Guide May 2000