Establish a Post Fire Coordinator

Courtesy of the US Forest Service.In small communities, subdivisions or neighborhoods, residents should appoint a Post Fire Coordinator (or a few coordinators) to work directly with local, state or federal agencies, emergency response officials and others others to help in a coordinated response. The Post Fire Coordinator does not need to be an elected official, they can be a community volunteer such as the lead of a Neighborhood Watch Group or of a Firewise Community effort. 

It can also be someone who is just a member of the community; two sisters, just 20 and 24, filled this role after a freak tornado hit their town. To see their inspiring story and the resource they built (, visit their TED talk.

The coordinator will need to work closely with local elected officials, emergency response personnel, volunteers and other stakeholders to address needs and seek assistance. They will need to play a strong leadership role to help their community on the path to recovery. 

Skills that are helpful for the coordinator to have include:

  • Proven management skills and knowledge of the community
  • Internet skills (assists in communication with the public or using a site such as
  • Experience with government agencies and programs and working across jurisdictions
  • Someone that already has a community network in place
  • Willing to engage throughout a fire, and during and after the BAER (Burned Area Emergency Response)
  • Bilingual skills may be needed in some areas

You may want to plan for multiple coordinators to help share responsibilities. for example, there could be coordinators for different phases such as a coordinator during the fire, and another to coordinate the response after the wildfire (focusing on rebuilding, flooding, restoration, etc.).

Support for the Post Fire Coordinator(s)

While the Post Wildfire Coordinator should handle many of the community coordination tasks, others are responsible for local governance and incident response. Local officials will be responsible for providing governance which includes serving as the collective decision-making body of the community, ensuring fiscal accountability and responsibilities are met, providing for public health and safety, and keeping community members informed. The local emergency manager will work with state and federal partners to handle the disaster response and immediate needs.

The Post Fire Coordinator is a very important position after a wildfire. However, the job will be demanding and may be emotionally taxing. The coordinator should get help from volunteers, assess community needs, build a team for support, and reach out for immediate resources. For help with emotional resiliency and support, see these resources.