2020 Changes to the Northern Rockies Coordinating Group Source List Process

Most equipment used for wildland fire suppression in the Northern Rockies are on three-year incident support agreements that are competed and awarded preseason. Solicitations are staggered so that roughly a third of the equipment categories are solicited each year. Equipment that is solicited and awarded preseason by the Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, and Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation is listed below:

  • Water Handling (Engine & Tender)
  • Heavy Equipment w/ Water (Skidgines, Soft Tracks, Pumper Cats)
  • Rental Vehicles
  • Toilets and Handwashing Stations
  • Ambulance /EMT/Paramedics
  • Weed Washing Units
  • Heavy Equipment (Dozers, Excavators, Feller Bunchers, Skidders, Graders, Transports)
  • Professional Fallers
  • Fuel Tenders
  • Type 3 Caterer
  • Short School Bus
  • Potable / Gray Water Trucks
  • Trailer Mounted Handwash Stations
  • Bus-Crew Carrier
  • Helicopter Support Trailer
  • Mechanic with Service Truck
  • Chippers/Masticators

In the past, if you were a contractor who wanted to get into wildland fire suppression in the Northern Rockies in a year when the kind of equipment you owned was not being solicited, you could still add your equipment to the Forest Service Region 1 source list. This was a secondary list that was only used after all awarded VIPR and preseason competed equipment had been exhausted. The chances were slim that you’d get a call, but it was better than not having your equipment on any list at all.

This same source list was also used for a variety of other equipment that might be needed in the course of fighting a wildfire, but for which there were not incident support agreements in place. Vendors could add just about anything to the list, but there were certain types of equipment that the Forest Service was looking for in particular, including:

  • Boats
  • Mule/Horse Pack String
  • Office Equip. (Copy/Fax Machine)
  • Dumptruck
  • Skidsteer/Forklift
  • Road Guards/Traffic Control
  • Light Towers/Generators
  • Office Trailers
  • Helicopter Dip Tanks
  • Misc. Heavy Equipment (Logging)
  • Heaters/AC Units
  • Vehicles with Driver
  • Mobile Sleeping Units
  • Satellite Phone Service

That all changed this year. The wide-open source list maintained by the Forest Service is gone. The Northern Rockies Coordinating Group is now maintaining a shared source list for its member agencies. According to the April 1, 2020 memo announcing this change, the only equipment allowed on the source list now includes the following:

  • Log Processors
  • Log Forwarders
  • Self-loading Logging Trucks
  • Logging Trucks
  • Vehicle with driver
  • Refrigerator Vans
  • Fuel Trucks
  • Potable Water Trucks

The memo noted that any other services, equipment, or supplies “will be sourced on the internet or in the local yellow pages.”

That second part surprised me, as I haven’t seen anyone use a phone book in ages. I asked for further clarification on what “sourced on the internet” meant, thinking that they would use SAM, the SBA Dynamic Small Business Search, or even the fee-based online directory they have a link to on the NRCG website (https://incidentresources.com/) to find qualified vendors, but I was told, no, “sourced on the internet” means that they are going to use a search engine such as Google or Bing to find vendors.

This is important to know. If you are like most fire contractors I work with, you do not have a website, so you are not going to be found when they start searching online. I’m not sure if it’s worth it to create a full-fledged website for the few EERA (Emergency Equipment Rental Agreement) opportunities that may pop up, but you may want to look into creating a business page with Google, Bing, LinkedIn and/or Facebook. It’s free and relatively easy, and those pages are indexed by the search engines, so if you list all the equipment you have on your page, you might actually show up in the search results when fire personnel go searching online for “dump trucks in Bozeman” or “UTVs in Helena.”

Follow these links to get signed up:

Unfortunately, PTACs are not allowed to provide general business assistance but Small Business Development Centers do provide marketing assistance and may be able to help you with this if you need it.

Some local dispatch centers may maintain their own local lists of resources that they commonly use, so vendors who are not computer-savvy may want to get to know the folks at their dispatch center and find out if such a list exists, and if so, how they can get on it.

Posted 6/23/2020