Wildland Fire Management: Improvements Needed in Information, Collaboration, and Planning to Enhance Federal Fire Aviation Program Success

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A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The Department of Agriculture's Forest Service and the Department of the Interior have undertaken nine major efforts since 1995 to identify the number and type of firefighting aircraft they need, but those efforts--consisting of major studies and strategy documents--have been hampered by limited information and collaboration. Specifically, the studies and strategy documents did not incorporate information on the performance and effectiveness of firefighting aircraft, primarily because neither agency collected such data. While government reports have long called for the Forest Service and Interior to collect aircraft ... continued below

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United States. Government Accountability Office. August 20, 2013.

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Description

A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The Department of Agriculture's Forest Service and the Department of the Interior have undertaken nine major efforts since 1995 to identify the number and type of firefighting aircraft they need, but those efforts--consisting of major studies and strategy documents--have been hampered by limited information and collaboration. Specifically, the studies and strategy documents did not incorporate information on the performance and effectiveness of firefighting aircraft, primarily because neither agency collected such data. While government reports have long called for the Forest Service and Interior to collect aircraft performance information, neither agency did so until 2012 when the Forest Service began a data collection effort. However, the Forest Service has collected limited data on large airtankers and no other aircraft, and Interior has not initiated a data collection effort. In addition, although firefighting aircraft are often shared by federal agencies and can be deployed to support firefighting operations on federal and nonfederal lands, the agencies have not consistently collaborated with one another and other stakeholders to identify the firefighting aircraft they need. Many agency officials and stakeholders GAO contacted noted concerns about limited collaboration, and many cited shortcomings with the formal mechanism for collaboration--the National Interagency Aviation Committee. The committee has implemented some leading practices for collaboration such as defining and articulating a common purpose, but it has not taken additional steps to monitor and evaluate its collaborative activities, another leading practice. Collectively, additional information on aircraft performance and effectiveness and collaboration across agencies and with stakeholders could enhance agency estimates of their firefighting aircraft needs to more accurately represent national needs for such aircraft, and as a result, better position the agencies to develop strategic planning documents that represent those needs."

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Government Accountability Office Reports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress investigating how the federal government spends taxpayers' money. Its goal is to increase accountability and improve the performance of the federal government. The Government Accountability Office Reports Collection consists of over 13,000 documents on a variety of topics ranging from fiscal issues to international affairs.

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  • August 20, 2013

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  • June 12, 2014, 7:50 p.m.

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United States. Government Accountability Office. Wildland Fire Management: Improvements Needed in Information, Collaboration, and Planning to Enhance Federal Fire Aviation Program Success, report, August 20, 2013; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc302238/: accessed September 22, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.