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Dear Industry Partners,
From all of us within the Federal wildland fire community, we would like to express our appreciation for your willingness to step up and support us, especially in times like these. Due to the significant surge in inquiries we have received from industry in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are pleased to inform you that we have established a COVID-19 Wildland Fire Procurement & Program Response Team. This team is providing support to the USDA Forest Service and our Agency Cooperators in the review, vetting, and coordination of incoming COVID-19 wildland fire contract related questions. This team is comprised of individuals who bring expertise in the areas of procurement and wildland fire program on-site needs.
Most importantly at this time we ask that you continue to direct all inquiries to your respective Contracting Officer or designated Contracting Officer Representative. As these questions are received they are reviewed and referred to those team members who can best address them. The frequently asked question (FAQ) documents on this page will be posted, monitored, and updated.
US Forest Service Fire and Aviation Management is currently developing Wildland Fire Response Plans including best management practices for all geographic areas on how to respond to fire and help prevent the spread of the coronavirus this year. Once the plans are finalized and reviewed, any changes to VIPR agreements or National contract requirements will be appropriately communicated to contractors by the applicable Contracting Officers.
The COVID-19 Wildland Fire Procurement & Program Response Team is ensuring that all available procurement flexibilities and innovative approaches to meet the requirements for the 2020 Wildland Fire Season are thoroughly vetted and communicated with Area Commands, Incident Management Teams (IMTs), and Wildland Fire Program Offices. We thank you in advance for working with us as we formulate innovative solutions and continue to support the wildland fire community together.
For 2021, the US Forest Service is requiring I-BPA or VIPR vendors to complete wildland fire preparedness training for those vendors with VIPR agreements that require Work Capacity Test (WCT) and RT-130, Wildland Fire Safety Training Annual Refresher (WFSTAR). Vendors are also encouraged to resume any critical training, including training that was deferred in 2020 whenever possible. Virtual or online learning is the preferred delivery method, however, in person training, with appropriate COVID mitigations in compliance with CDC guidelines may occur.
It is recommended vendors continue to monitor the CDC website and their State and Local Health Authority for the latest information and mitigation measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Additional information on how the federal agencies are providing training during this pandemic can be found on the NWCG Training Delivery Committee website. Guidance on how to disinfect practice fire shelters used in RT-130 training is located here https://www.nwcg.gov/sites/default/files/committee/docs/fsppes-disinfecting-practice-shelters.pdf
For additional information and guidance regarding training for I-BPA or VIPR vendors, please contact the appropriate Contract Operations person located in your area. A list of Contract Operations personnel along with their contact information is located HERE.
Several States have directed that individuals shelter at their place of residence except that they may leave to provide or receive certain essential services or engage in certain essential services and work for essential government services. Wildland firefighting is an essential US Forest Service function and I-BPA vendors should carry their identification and the document for U.S. Department of Agriculture Operations Allowed to Operate During Shelter in Residence when performing wildland firefighting functions.
See additional links below with valuable information relating to COVID-19: