Rangeland Fire Protection Associations: An alternative model for wildfire response

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Since the 1990s, numerous Rangeland Fire Protection Associations (RFPAs) have emerged in Oregon and Idaho, and a recent 2015 law authorizes RFPAs in Nevada as well. RFPAs organize and authorize rancher participation in fire suppression alongside federal agency firefighters (typically, the Bureau of Land Management or BLM). These all-volunteer crews of ranchers have training and legal authority to respond to fires on private and state lands in landscapes where there had been no existing fire protection, and can become authorized to respond on federal lands as well.

There has been growing policy interest in better understanding the RFPA model. This study analyzed RFPA establishment, functioning, successes, and challenges through four case studies of individual RFPAs and their respective state programs in Oregon and Idaho during 2015-2016.

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