Aerially applied fire retardant and other fire chemicals reduces wildfire intensity and rate of spread, decreasing risks to firefighters, enabling them to construct fireline safely. In many situations, the use of retardant in concert with firefighters on the ground allows the Forest Service to safely meet its responsibilities to protect landscapes, resources, and people.
Interagency Policy for Aerial and Ground Delivery of Wildand Fire Chemicals Near Waterways and Other Avoidance Areas
Interagency Wildland Fire Chemicals Reporting Tools and Forms
PDF Forms (for field use)
- Interagency Wildland Fire Aerial Fire Retardant Misapplication Report
- Aquatic Site Assessment Report (for USFS only as part of report #1 above)
- Terrestrial Report (for USFS only as part of report #1 above)
- Interagency Wildland Fire Aerial Foam, Gel or Ground Misapplication Report
- Record of Decision
- Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS)
- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Biological Opinion (Pages 1-395) (Pages 396-789)
- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Biological Opinion
Aerial Fire Retardant Use on National Forest System Lands
Previous years – see Appendix C, Final Environmental Impact Statement
- Webinar: Aerial Fire Retardant, The Forest Service and You: Fire Operations Resource Advisors and Managing for ESA Species - May 2017
- (If you receive error code when clicking on the webinar link, try right-clicking and “save target as” or “save link as” to your Desktop. If that doesn’t work, contact Julie Laufman. The webinar loads and plays correctly in the Google Chrome browser).
Nationwide Aerial Application of Fire Retardant on National Forest System Lands
In October 2007, the U.S. Forest Service issued an Environmental Assessment and Decision Notice and Finding of No Significant Impact (DN/FONSI) entitled “Aerial Application of Fire Retardant.”
In February 2008, the U.S. Forest Service amended the DN/FONSI by incorporating the reasonable and prudent alternatives proposed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries during the Section 7 consultation process prescribed by the Endangered Species Act.
In response to these activities, on July 27, 2010, the United States District Court for the District of Montana issued a decision that invalidated the U.S. Forest Service’s decision to adopt the “Guidelines for Aerial Delivery of Retardant or Foam Near Waterways.”
These historical documents are located here.
In response to the ROD, the Interagency Policy for Aerial and Ground Delivery of Wildland Fire Chemicals near Waterways and Other Avoidance Areas was revised from the 2000 and 2009 Guidelines noted above, a new reporting tool was developed and an Implementation Guide for the U.S. Forest Service was completed.