The recent decision by the Department of Defense (DoD) to halt further transfer of excess trucks, generators, pumps, and engine parts will cost states and local fire departments the opportunity to utilize excess equipment to protect lives and property from wildfire.
There are two major federal excess property programs for state foresters:
1. Federal Excess Personal Property (FEPP)
- Loans federally owned property to state forestry organizations and their cooperators for use in responding to wildfire
- Includes essential equipment such as trucks, fire tools, hoses, vehicle parts, nozzles, generators, air compressors, fire protection clothing, aircraft, and aircraft parts.
2. Firefighter Property program (FPP)
- Enables firefighters access to DoD property for use in firefighting and other emergency services.
- Enables ownership to pass from the federal government following specified period of use.
From 2008 to 2012 the FEPP and FPP programs delivered more than $150 million annually in equipment for use by state and local resources in fighting wildfires. Stopping transfers will increase exposure of communities to loss of life and property and also increase wildfire suppression expenses at all levels of government. For many small departments, federal excess equipment may be the only equipment they can afford. This decision will reduce the wildfire response capability of local fire departments.