R5 questions

Hello all , I was doing some research and accidentally came across this site . There
seems to be a wealth of knowledge here so I’m hoping you might be able to answer a few questions for me .

So we have been contractors for 20 years in R3 (az/nm) . We stay on the camp side and do portable toilets ,potable water , grey water and Hand wash trailers. This year we had equipment called to California to august complex and it kinda opened our eyes of the potential there . I didn’t actually make it to California but my wife did . So now onto the questions .

1 does cal fire get the majority of the forest fires in California and how is it determined what agency responds ?

2 do carb laws apply In northern ca ? Wife said she saw lots of older trucks that she didn’t think would meet the carb criteria . my research says they do apply .

3 do any dispatch centers see higher volume of fires year after year and what dispatch centers would you recommend we place a few pieces of equipment?

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CalFire is a state agency so they would oversee the fires on state land and land that is deemed mutual threat in local response area. Anything that is on Fed or BLM land would be Fed team and deemed a Fed Fire. Depending on the fire season, we easily have fires going on both state and fed land at the same time. Can’t answer to the carb criteria so will leave that for others. As far as dispatch centers…some in Southern California see a higher volume of fires but other parts of the state…far northern Cal, Eastern part of Cal and Central Coast part of Cal seem to have the larger longer duration fires…the ones that last weeks to months. Southern Cal can have a high abundance of fires, but not as many of the type that last weeks to months like other parts of the state. Hope this helps…I’m sure other can give more details than what I provided so keep checking back.

  1. Both agencies get a high volume of fire, there is more fed land than state land.
  2. All vehicles registered in CA must pass some sort of smog test unless they are a certain age. You can find all the specifics on CA DMV site.
  3. For your type of equipment you’re probably more interested in major fires with set up camps, being out of state you probably want to look into the feds which I’d imagine you’re already doing in R3. As pointed out, norcal has been getting more long duration fires than socal.
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If I were to spend the effort to come to California, I would focus on the CalFire Units first. There is just too much weirdness going on within R5 Procurement at the moment. Many of the long time providers in the State for completely sidelined in the FS arena because of the games that are being played within the procurement side of things. In the South, SBU and RRU were the two big fire holders although MVU is certainly capable of having a large fire with heavy resource commitment. CalFire has moved to a closest resource ordering model so geographic placement would definitely be a factor. Should the FS R5 get their contractor hiring issues resolved, they would certainly have the longer term camps needing support.


Before spending any money, download and read the Supplier Participation Manual (SPM) cover to cover 1st. It will answer all of the questions you have regarding doing business with Calfire and the requirements.

Fire.ca.gov is the website
Once there you want to go to the RESOURCES page and then to HIRED EQUIPMENT page.

The SPM is about 150 pages and free to download.


That’s for all the responses and sharing this info with me ! Ok so I’m going to ask a question and I hope I don’t upset anybody. Like I said I’m clueless when it comes to r5 and cal fire so please bare with me. My wife talked to lots of people on the august complex that said try to get on with cal fire. She talked to others and they said it’s a buddy system and a waste of time unless you have a connection . Any truth to this ? Also my wife asked if any of you were at the Ruth , TLC or meadows camps ?

Prior to 2020, there was certainly a buddy system element involved, although not an official policy. Brand name has some value in that you know who and what you are getting when you order a specific resource. In 2020, CalFire went to a purely closest resource ordering methodology. In that type of system, if you are an approved vendor and your location is closer that the next person, you will be ordered. Additionally, as Ehoss84 outlined, the SPM (Supplier Participation Manual) is a must read in its entirety prior to really beginning the process. Location choice is a critical element of the new CF process.

The FS R5 procurement significantly changed their process and allocation and in reality is not adhering to the VIPER process, which you should be familiar with as R3 does use that process. These changes caused huge voids in resources for FS controlled incidents in the throughout the entire State in the 2020 season. If, and there is heavy emphasis on if, R5 modifies their practices for 2021, there would be plenty of opportunity on Fed fires. Right now, that is a real gamble as there are a truckload of CWN providers sitting in the wings that were locked out of being able to participate in 2020, who are already on the various Forests already.

Just a point of clarification, there were two sets of UOP for the broad scope of the August Complex, the vast majority of the footprint being in the FS side of things on the Mendocino NF. The CF component, which had it’s own ordering, Team and infrastructure did have a very large footprint however, it was no where near a 50/50 split between the two agencies.

Given the processes of the two agencies, I would still recommend starting with CF if the business analysis justifies out for you. When you have had an opportunity to get a foothold, then look to expand into the FS side, again, provided they get their CWN procurement chaos cleaned up.

Everything summed up, the necessity of studying the CF SPM cannot be stressed enough before you make any decisions.


Can’t overstate enough, read the SPM. With you being in R3 you will have to have equipment in 1 of the 21 operational units Calfire has. That unit will create your Calfire 294(EERA) and will do an inspection.

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If you currently have a vipr contract in R3 for those resources you will need to see the contract dates. You wouldn’t be able to add equipment to CA until the new contract year opens.

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Is your wife questioning getting your resources on a CF contract or being on a contract and getting the call?

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Does anyone know if there are unfilled orders for water tenders? We are patiently waiting for an assignment…

two days ago there were calls to vendors in the Sacramento area. If you are closer to Butte and were passed over check with your hired equip mgr, make sure you’re good to go.

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We are good to go in SCU, No calls yet…

I’m in region 5 and close to the fire. No calls from the feds for a dozer yet
In fact there are many dozers in region 5 that are very close to the fire with no calls yet

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Not till it get going alittle better maybe ??

Zero calls to anybody in south ops for anything but there’s equipment from out of state there doesn’t make sense :thinking:

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Unfortunately it’s already burning in a serious way. Equipement should be ordered. There’s so many dozers sitting and waiting for a call.

Looking at all the CAD’s for south ops there is plenty of agency (federal) resources still sitting. South Ops is far from being at drawdown

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My thoughts as well :thinking:

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Many USFS engines and dozers are still at home cause not sure if south ops are holding them or if the home forest won’t let them leave

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