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The original acronym FIRESCOPE stood for "FIrefighting REsources of Southern California Organized for Potential Emergencies." The system was developed after a bout of massive southern California wildfires in 1970, which burned for days and involved multiple jurisdictions. The system was designed to create an efficient interagency resource coordination system for fire and other emergencies in the Southern California Region. The system was later expanded to provide service statewide.
System design and operation
The FIRESCOPE program provides an effective and efficient solution to operational coordination requirements and problems of the major fire protection agencies serving the California urban-wildland complex. Major wildland fires are a common annual occurrence in Southern California with its Mediterranean-like climate which typically gives the area 4 to 6 months of almost total drought. In addition, the region is threatened with infrequent, but potentially disastrous, urban emergencies precipitated by flooding, earthquake, and fire. The FIRESCOPE program is directed towards improving the effectiveness of the close working arrangement of fire services in the area in response to any major incident, not just those involving wildland fire.
The design of the program, as well as its initial development and testing was begun in 1972 by a specially chartered research development and application (RD&A) program at the US Forest Service Pacific Southwest Forest & Range Experiment Station's Forest Fire Laboratory in Riverside, California. Funding for the 5-year RD&A program was provided by a special appropriation from Congress in response to concerns raised by disastrous Southern California wildfires in 1970 which burned more than a half million acres, destroying 700 structures and taking 16 lives. Problem analysis was carried out jointly by Forest Service researchers and personnel from the principal Southern California fire agencies who also provided support for the system design.
The policies of the FIRESCOPE program has been implemented by federal, state and many local fire agencies in California. A major component, the Incident Command System (ICS), which provides uniform procedures for on-site command and control operations in emergency situations, was subsequently adopted for use nationwide by federal wildland fire protection agencies, and has been endorsed by both FEMA and the US Fire Administration for adoption by State and local emergency services agencies nationally.
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- California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection
- National Wildfire Coordinating Group
- National Interagency Fire Center
- Wildfires in California
- Wildland fire suppression
- Incident Command System
- [Fire Officer Principles and Practices: Second Edition Page 287]
- FIRESCOPE: a new concept in multi-agency fire suppression coordination. Richard Chase, USDA Forest Service General Technical Report PSW-040, 17 p. 1980... www.treesearch.fs.fed.us/pubs/24094 - 19k -
- California aflame! September 22-October 4, 1970. Clinton B. Phillips. State of Calif. Dept of Conservation, Div. of For. Sacramento, Cailf. 73 p. 1971.