By Billy Freeman, Senior Public Safety Advisor, First Responder Network Authority
Wildland fires continue to burn at all-time highs. From January to July 2021, more than 2.6 million acres were burned(link is external) nationwide, including the massive, yet-to-be contained Bootleg Fire in Oregon. In 2020, nearly 59,000 wildfires burned more than 10 million acres. This was the second-most acreage impacted in a year since 1960, according(link is external) to the National Interagency Coordination Center for wildland fires.
Since the launch of FirstNet in 2018, the network has become an important tool in the toolbox for wildland firefighters. We have seen tremendous interest and use of the FirstNet fleet(link is external) of portable network assets for public safety agencies’ emergency response needs, with more than 750 requests from public safety in 2020.