National Interagency Fire Center
The National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) located in Boise, Idaho is the nation's wildland fire support center. National fire management programs from each federal agency are represented at NIFC including the Bureau of Land Management, the USDA Forest Service, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the National Park Service, and the Fish and Wildlife Service. These agencies manage wildland fire on nearly 700 million acres of federal public land, or one-fifth of the total land area in the United States.
Federal fire programs, along with their partners including the National Weather Service, the U.S. Fire Administration, the National Association of State Foresters, and the Department of Defense, work together to coordinate national fire planning and operations at NIFC. Using interagency cooperation, the NIFC organization provides leadership and policy oversight to manage the nation's wildland fire program.
The protection of life and communities continue to be the top priorities for wildfire suppression. Federal fire agencies working with local and state fire organizations have maintained a high rate of success. Each year, tens of thousands of wildland fires ignite across the nation. Approximately 95 percent of these ignitions are successfully suppressed during the first 24-hour suppression phase called “initial attack” before they become large fires. However, about four to six percent become large fires due to factors such as extreme weather, drought, invasive species and other ecosystem issues; these incidents tend to be severe and problematic.
Suppressing any large fire requires a complex but well-orchestrated and coordinated effort among agencies and fire management organizations across the country.
Since its inception more than 50 years ago, the partner agencies at NIFC have effectively shared firefighting resources and associated costs. NIFC has evolved to also provide logistical support for all-hazard emergency responses - from volcanic eruptions in Hawaii to flood and hurricane relief - in the Eastern states and Puerto Rico.
Through cooperative agreements, NIFC’s highly successful interagency concept extends across the nation and internationally. NIFC supports fires and other emergencies in foreign nations when requested by the Office of Foreign Assistance of the U.S. Department of State and maintains firefighting arrangements with Australia, Canada, Mexico, and New Zealand.
Although the focus of NIFC is wildland fire suppression, today’s fire programs involve far more and include other types of fire management such as hazardous fuels treatments, integrated fire and land-use planning, information resource management, and more. Fire management under this larger umbrella is designed to achieve not only suppression goals, but to accomplish a broad spectrum of natural resource objectives in an efficient, cost-effective manner.