UAFA – Annual Meeting Success

The United Aerial Firefighters Association (UAFA), recently hosted its first annual members meeting in Boise, Idaho, which was a resounding success! With nearly 100 attendees from industry and government, the meeting provided valuable opportunities for networking, learning, and collaboration. The event even drew in non-members, leading to standing-room-only sessions for some presentations. The two-day event provided a safe space for attendees to provide each other feedback and an overwhelming reassurance that the challenges everyone faces in the suppression mission are not that different.

David Hoyt from Dynamic Aviation, expressing his appreciation for the invitation, stated, “I have attended many wildland fire meetings and conferences during my tenure with Dynamic Aviation, and the UAFA meeting last week was, by far, the best. The meeting was well organized, the content exceptionally relevant, and many appropriate stakeholders engaged and involved.”

Fire Season After-Action Review

A highlight of the meeting was the after-action review with the US Forest Service (USFS), the Department of the Interior (DOI)’s Office of Aircraft Services, and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). This was a valuable opportunity for members to learn more about the agencies’ thoughts on the 2023 season and plan for 2024. Representatives from all the aircraft type branches, Airworthiness, Safety, Fire Chemicals, and Contracting, listened to member concerns and answered questions in breakout sessions. They also provided feedback on how the UAFA can better support their work. Topics ranged from challenges with helicopter self-certifications and inspections to insights about the agencies’ future use of technology and unmanned aircraft.

Several government attendees mentioned how beneficial it was for the industry to come together. They were appreciative of the new opportunities for UAFA to advocate for the agencies, as well as the industry. A member who attended, commenting about the generosity of the federal staff with their time and information, said, “I thought the meetings were 1000% better than I could have ever imagined.”

Industry Experts

In addition to the after-action review, there was a presentation from Wildfire Mitigation and Management Commission (WFMMC) member Bob Roper of the Western Fire Chiefs Association. He was optimistic that the agencies, partners, industry, and Congress would take the recent Commission’s report recommendations and work together to improve our national preparedness. The UAFA is particularly interested in leading out on earlier Aviation Report Recommendation 1, Establishing a task force comprised of a cross-representative group of fire organizations and other interested and affected parties to explore the feasibility of a regionalized approach to Standards of Cover. Expect to hear more from the UAFA about this in 2024.

While unable to attend, authors David Auchterlonie and Jeffrey Lehman provided the UAFA members with copies of their recent book, “Running Out of Time.” The book details the impact of wildfires, the roles of federal and state agencies, and the cost. It goes on to explain the various tools used for response, a review of forest management, and makes recommendations for the future. Many of their recommendations align with the WFMMC and the UAFA recommendations.

The event concluded with an insightful presentation from UAFA Senior Policy Director Tiffany Taylor. She detailed her experience during the development of the multiple award task order contract (MATOC) acquisition strategies while at the USDA.  Tiffany detailed the “good, bad and ugly” of the MATOC strategy from both the government and industry’s perspective.

She also explained how the day-to-day reality of federal employees impacts their ability to execute faster. While federal employees’ primary responsibility is to meet the agency mission (natural resources and wildfire suppression), it also includes IT security training, performance reviews, continuous learning to maintain certifications, responding to FOIAs and Congress, preparing the President’s budget requests, and many other mandatory tasks that get in the way and often take “priority.” This gave a new perspective to the industry on how, why, and who makes agency decisions.

Tiffany also detailed the myriad steps required by law and regulation to issue a solicitation and make a contract award, even providing some real evaluation ratings and asking attendees to figure out who got the award! Everyone now understands a bit better why things take so long, but we can’t help thinking there has got to be a better way.

New Board Directors

The UAFA was pleased to introduce its newest board directors, Eddie Goldberg and Clint Clouatre. Eddie is Vice Chairman for Perimeter Solutions, leading the Fire Safety business for over 20 years. Clint is the Vice President of Marketing and sales for Wipaire/Fire Boss and will provide the Board insight from the OEM perspective. Over 50% of members voted for the corporate and affiliate spots, demonstrating a strong level of engagement among the UAFA members. The Board will expand to as many as ten directors, with a mix of corporate and affiliate member representatives.

Thanks to the Non-Member Attendees

The UAFA extends a special thank you to the non-member attendees who participated in the meeting. Their presence and engagement enriched the discussions and helped to foster a broader understanding of the wildland fire aviation community. The UAFA is committed to providing its members with valuable resources and opportunities for collaboration. The annual members’ meeting is a key platform for achieving this goal and advancing aircraft use in wildland fire management.

Looking Ahead

The UAFA plans its next annual members meeting in Boise in November 2024. Our goals for 2024 include working with Congress to facilitate longer periods for industry contracts and beginning the Standards of Cover conversation. If you are a member, consider volunteering to be on a committee. If you aren’t a member, join now to contribute to the solutions. If you want to join, visit Membership – United Aerial Firefighters Association ( Stay connected with us at and

Tiffany Taylor
Tiffany Taylor
Tiffany Taylor is the Senior Policy Director for the United Aerial Firefighters Association. She has almost 25 years’ experience in federal government acquisition. Most recently she was the Senior Procurement Executive (SPE) and Program Management Improvement Officer (PMIO) for USDA, overseeing the buying of everything from commodities to research to all-hazards incident support (wildfires, animal disease outbreaks, COVID, etc.) and providing acquisition expertise and recommendations to the Secretary. As the SPE, she was responsible for the approval of all major non-IT acquisition strategies, like Forest Service Aviation and Retardant. As the PMIO, she established the requirement for all major non-IT programs to develop integrated program teams and develop program-level acquisition strategies. Prior to her SPE position she was the Chief of the Contracting Office for all Forest Service Incident Support contracts. In this role she was responsible for the effective execution of all contract actions issued for incident support. She also has experience purchasing aviation spare parts from European original equipment manufacturers and training simulators for Department of Defense agencies.

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