Six Rivers National Forest
U.S. Forest Service
118 Fortuna Blvd. Fortuna California 95540
Eureka, CA 95501
The Orleans Complex recently had the honor of hosting Christophe Frerson, who works for the Civil Security, Interministry Headquarters South, in Marseille, South France.
Frerson, who is not only a Fire Fighter Commander (which is similar to a Regional Assistant Fire Director here), also works in law enforcement, anti-terrorism and air traffic control. He was here to observe the differences and similarities between the two countries in the world of fire.
There were more similarities then differences in firefighting tactics between France and the U.S., Frerson said. For instance, our Hotshot crews (Type 1 hand crew) are called Fire Intervention Sections in France, which are like military forces.The mapping system and the organization in general, is very similar, but have different names, he said.
In France, they do not have the Incident Command System (ICS), which is used on any significant incident in the U.S., but he will take information about ICS back to his country and try to implement a similar organization.
Most fires in South France last only 12 hours because they go “full strike force”, as he described it, with everything they have to suppress wildfires quickly. Ninety percent of fires are human caused, with 45% of those being arson, 30% undetermined and 3% are caused by children.
Frerson told us he gathered a lot of new helpful information that he will take back with him and he really enjoyed his visit, sleeping in his tent, eating fire camp food, and especially meeting all the firefighters.