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As the news broadcasts the most devastating fires in California’s history, current fire vendors or those hoping to become vendors may wonder how they can get involved. Wildland fire contracts are awarded at the local, regional, state, and federal levels however getting involved once fire season is underway can be a challenge. The Forest Service, CalFire, and other agencies activate contracts held by pre-approved vendors such as Incident Blanket Purchase Agreements (I-BPAs) or those on the Hired Equipment List. However, in circumstances where these resources have been exhausted, an incident-only Emergency Equipment Rental Agreement (EERA) or a generic solicitation may be necessary, which is where a qualified vendor may get involved.
Before you pursue a contract...
Make sure you meet the minimum requirements. For example, does your equipment meet the minimum apparatus requirements as mandated by the National Wildfire Coordination Group (NWCG)? Has your equipment been inspected by the authorized third party? Have you passed a Work Capacity Test? Conquering these minimum requirements may render you ready for an EERA or generic solicitation opportunity that arises.
If you are unprepared for the current fire season, now is the time to start preparing for the next.
The following are a few things you should know and steps you should take as a potential vendor.
- Get registered on the Systems for Award Management (SAM) at www.sam.gov or make sure your registration is active
- Review the National Solicitation Plan for I-BPA’s to prepare for upcoming solicitations to learn more about the scope of work and requirements: https://www.fs.fed.us/business/incident/solicitations.php?tab=tab_d
- Opportunities are posted on https://beta.sam.gov however VIPR is the system used for bid submittal and awards. A keyword search on beta.sam.gov of “VIPR I-BPA” will bring up opportunities posted to date, however, please note all solicitations may not be posted yet as different regions may post at different times.
- Virtual Incident Procurement (VIPR): Get registered as a vendor on the VIPR Vendor Application page here: https://www.fs.fed.us/business/incident/vendorapp.php?tab=tab_d.
- Generic Solicitations: Please note Contracting Officers may issue various local equipment and services procurements not listed on the National Solicitation Plan for I-BPAs. Though not all-inclusive, many are listed on the Method of Hire (MOH) chart here: https://www.nwcg.gov/sites/default/files/publications/ibc-MOH2016.pdf
The Forest Service is scheduled to solicit the following in response to wildland firefighting in 2021:
- Chainsaw Repair Service
- Miscellaneous Heavy Equipment: Feller Buncher, Mulcher/Masticator (Boom Mounted), Strip Mulcher/Masticator, Road Grader, Skidder
- Mobile Sleeper Units
- Portable Air Traffic Control Towers
- Portable Toilets (ADA Toilets, Handwashing Stations)
- Potable Water Tenders (Gray Water Tenders, Trailer Mounted Handwashing Stations
*This forecast is limited to USFS projected needs. Other agencies are also procuring other goods and services.