The tools and technologies of fire management have
come a long way since the Forest Service was first charged with
protection of the land in the early 1900s. Innovative Forest Service
engineers, draftsmen, foresters, and technicians, work closely with
universities and private industry to create and improve products
for fire management in the 21st century.
From fire-resistant clothing and other Personal
Protective Equipment (PPE) to the development of the fire shelter,
the equipment used in fire suppression has evolved with the safety
of the firefighter in mind. Improved aircraft restraint systems
for cargo and smokejumpers, development of fire retardant chemical
and water delivery systems, and continuing advances in infra-red
technologies are developed and tested at the USDA Forest Service
Technology Centers in California and Montana.
Computer technology has certainly changed the face
of fire management, presenting exciting new challenges and rewards
for fire mangers and firefighters. High tech equipment and software
provides tools for fire behavior modeling, geographic information
systems for better fire mapping, satellite imagery and automated
stations for up-to-the-minute weather forecasts, advances in resource
orderings systems and cost tracking. Extensive use of web sites
and e-mail allow for immediacy in sending and obtaining information,
and asset to fire managers, firefighters and the public alike.