Interested in becoming a wildland firefighting vendor? Now is the time to get set up with the Forest Service’s vendor portal (VIPR), and the CAL FIRE Hired Equipment application.
The Virtual Incident Procurement (VIPR) is an electronic bidding and award system used by the Forest Service for wildland firefighting solicitations. VIPR allows the Forest Service to solicit bids for what are known as “blanket purchase agreements” during the off-season so that they have a ready list of vendors they can call when a wildfire breaks out later in the year. These solicitations typically open up some time around February and close in March, so now is the time to get prepared.
We’ll also be going over some big changes for this year’s cycle. For the first time since VIPR started, the Forest Service is doing a yearly “onboarding” process outside of their standard five-year rotations. This means that if you missed the standard deadline for certain equipment types solicited in previous years–which we’ll go over–you still have a shot of getting on a shorter-term VIPR BPA this year.
The state of California also solicits firefighting equipment and services from private vendors with their CAL FIRE Hired Equipment Program in the form of Emergency Equipment Rental Agreements (EERAs). Similar to the VIPR, there is a process to sign up for open ended agreements if you have the right equipment so that you may get calls during fire season if the need arises in your region. But there are key differences, which we’ll go over.
CALFIRE is responsible for fire protection in various areas under state responsibility totaling 31 million acres, as well as the administration of the state’s private and public forests. In addition, the department provides varied emergency services in 36 of the state’s 58 counties via contracts with local governments.