The National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG) was established in 1976 through a Memorandum of Understanding between the Department of Agriculture and the Department of the Interior. The memorandum defined the function and purpose of NWCG as follows:
“To establish an operational group designed to coordinate programs of the participating agencies so as to avoid wasteful duplication and to provide a means of constructively working together. Its goal is to provide more effective execution of each agency’s fire management program. The Group provides a formalized system to agree upon standards of training, equipment, aircraft, suppression priorities, and other operational areas. Agreed upon policies, standards, and procedures are implemented directly through regular agency channels.”
Twelve “working teams” and a number of sub-teams, comprised of member agency leaders and experts in various fields, were established in functional areas such as fire equipment, fire weather, incident operations, training, and incident business. These teams led the initial effort to achieve a broad national standardization in key areas of wildland fire management.
Listed in the order of which they joined, current NWCG members are:
- U.S. Forest Service
- Bureau of Indian Affairs
- Bureau of Land Management
- National Park Service
- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
- National Association of State Foresters
- U.S. Fire Administration
- Intertribal Timber Council
- International Association of Fire Chiefs
Fourteen primary committees and a number of subordinate groups - again representing the key functional areas in wildland fire management - continue the work of their predecessors. And although individual members are different and agency membership has evolved, the primary mission remains largely unchanged. NWCG continues to provide leadership for a seamless response to wildland fire across the nation.