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  • Writer's pictureWildfire Aware

National Wildfire Preparedness Levels


Wildfires are a natural part of our environment, but they can quickly become out of control, leading to costly damage and loss. To help contain and mitigate wildfire risks, the National Multi-Agency Coordination Group (NMAC) has established five Preparedness Levels throughout the calendar year. This system ensures that there are enough resources available to respond to wildfires as they emerge across the country. Let’s take a closer look at what these Preparedness Levels entail.


What Are The Five Preparedness Levels?

The five Preparedness Levels range from 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest). Each level includes specific management actions and involves increasing levels of interagency resource commitments. At Level 1, for example, there may be an increased emphasis on fire safety education for the public and increased monitoring of fire activity in areas with high fire danger ratings. At Level 5, all available resources are committed to responding to fires with minimal restrictions on use.


How Are The Preparedness Levels Determined?

The NMAC determines each Preparedness Level based on fuel and weather conditions, fire activity, and resource availability throughout the country. As conditions change—for example if it gets hotter or drier—the NMAC may increase the Preparedness Level in order to ensure that there are enough resources available to respond to any potentially dangerous wildfires that may occur. In addition, as fires occur in different parts of the country, more resources may be needed in those areas; this may result in an increase in the preparedness level for those regions as well.


What Are The Benefits Of The NMAC's System?

The NMAC's system ensures that there are always enough resources available to respond quickly and effectively when a wildfire is discovered. This helps minimize property damage and loss of life by reducing response times and ensuring that emergency personnel have access to all necessary equipment and supplies when responding to a fire emergency. It also helps keep costs down by avoiding unnecessary expenditure on emergency response services due to lack of preparedness.


Source: National Interagency Fire Center

The National Multi-Agency Coordination Group’s system of five Preparedness Levels is designed to ensure that wildland fire agencies have access to sufficient resources when responding to wildfires across the nation. By staying up-to-date on fuel and weather conditions, monitoring fire activity around the country, and committing additional resources when needed, this system helps reduce property damage and loss of life due to wildfires while keeping costs down at the same time. It is an invaluable tool in helping keep our communities safe during wildfire season.

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