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Within the Commonwealth, the Bureau administers the USDA Forest Service's Excess Property Program. This program provides cities and towns with free fire fighting materials. Any equipment acquired must be used for fire control purposes only. Since its inception, Massachusetts fire departments and agencies have benefited by the free use of portable pumps, generators, vehicles and other necessary equipment worth over $15 million.
Assistance is provided to communities and state agencies (such as the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency) during any disaster or civil defense emergency. Bureau personnel have aided in recovery efforts after major incidents like the Blizzard of `78, Hurricane Bob and the combined hurricane and flood of 1938. Also, individual members are first responder certified, as well as trained for search and rescue operations.
Through the Massachusetts Fire Academy and by arrangement, trained Bureau personnel teach the most current information on fire behavior, modern methods of fire suppression, and conduct demonstrations using modern fire fighting equipment for training purposes. Specialized training is also provided to municipal fire-fighters to prepare them for the U.S. Forest Service Red Card, which is required for deployment to any out of state fire.
The Bureau maintains a functioning, specialized wildfire crew that is Red Card certified for deployment to any out of state fire managed by the Federal Government USDA. Bureau crews have fought fires at Palomar, CA; Yellow-stone, WY; the Grasslands of North Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Colorado, Texas, Virginia, the Appalachian Mountains and Florida.
Other single resource personnel trained in dispatch, public information, communications, and fire prevention education have been deployed to Maine, Montana, Idaho, California, Nova Scotia and here in Massachusetts.
As a member of the Northeastern Forest Fire Protection Commission, (also known as the COMPACT), the Bureau lends equipment, personnel and expertise to fellow members. Under this agreement, Massachusetts was one of several states to lend portable pumps and forestry hose to Quebec when that province was ravaged by forest fires in 1995 and deployed a suppression crew to assist in their 2010 fires.