At times when the equipment needed to control an emergency incident exceeds the resources of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE), the department hires equipment and services from the private sector to supplement its own resources. In so doing, CAL FIRE attempts to obtain those resources that exactly meet the resource needs of the Incident.
Hiring privately-owned equipment to perform work for CAL FIRE in emergencies is permitted under Public Contract Code Sections 10302 and 10340, authorizing exception from contracting. Rental of "non-State" equipment for fire control use will be reported to the Department of General Services after its use. The reporting process will be handled directly through the Department’s Mobile Equipment Management Program in conjunction with the Department Accounting Office and will not require field input.
The Incident Commander decides what kind and type of equipment should be hired for an incident, and when it will be released. Equipment may be rented from any owner, (except one protecting his own property or interests) who is willing to rent. There is no practical provision for forcing a vendor to rent equipment for emergency use.
Because wildland firefighting is complex and inherently dangerous, the primary operational concern of CAL FIRE is to provide the safest possible work environment for hired equipment operators. The department has adopted policies defining our commitment to provide adequate supervision and accountability. CAL FIRE recognizes it is impractical for hired equipment vendors to provide comprehensive wildland firefighting training to their employees that would bring them to the level CAL FIRE requires of its permanent employees. Commensurate with the safety training CAL FIRE requires of hired equipment vendors and operators, the following operating procedures apply while vendors are employed in firefighting operations.
Most agreement requirements for complement, capacity, and capability are listed in the vendor supplier manual.