The Origins of the Great Lakes Forest Fire Compact
As a result of the disastrous fires in New England in the fall of 1946, and the need for eastern states to be able to expedite information and resource sharing in the event of a fire emergency, the ‘Northeastern Forest Fire Protection Commission' was formed.
This eventually led to congressional approval of the "Northeastern Forest Fire Protection Compact" which enabled seven New England states and two Canadian Provinces to exchange fire crews and equipment for a major fire problem.
Since then, the 'Middle Atlantic Forest Fire Compact', the 'Great Lakes Forest Fire Compact' and the ‘Big Rivers Forest Fire Management Compact’ have also been formed in the Northeast Area.
In 1983, fire managers from Minnesota, Michigan and Wisconsin met at the Indian Head Resort in Wakefield, Michigan to discuss mutual concerns and needs. From that initial meeting the Great Lakes Forest Fire Compact was organized. The state managers requested the support of the Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry-U.S. Forest Service. Also, the state managers agreed that it would be beneficial if Ontario were a member. In September 1989, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin signed the first agreement and the Great Lakes Forest Fire Compact was officially established. Ontario was a participant from the beginning but the formal international approval came later. In 1998 Manitoba requested, and was approved to become a member.
In other areas of United States and Canada, agreements such as the ‘Northwest Wildland Fire Protection Agreement’ (Northwest Compact) are in place to formalize mutal aid, resources and information