The first piece everyone asks about is the timelines. Typically, the roll-over mod time and on-ramping time begins sometime in mid-January to the beginning of February and closes at the end of February. Then, typically the beginning of March, the full solicitations are posted for whatever pieces of equipment are up for bid in that year. At that time, all equipment must be uploaded into the VIPR system with specs and pictures and signed forms. This is also the time bids are submitted which include pricing and dispatch center choice. Bids are typically accepted through the month of March.
*NOTE – VIPR has recently changed the login process a bit and there have seen some glitches. You may still be able to login with your previously used eAuth login credentials, but you can now also use your login credentials from SAM or login.gov. If you need assistance with this process, please reach out to the APEX office for help.
In addition to getting everything into VIPR, everyone needs to be sure their SAM registration is current and up to date. If it expires anytime within the next six months, you might want to be sure you submit your renewal request early to ensure it doesn’t expire in the middle of the busy fire season. If the SAM account is inactive, the Forest Service cannot pay you, so it is incredibly important to keep it up to date.
Please plan ahead – drop in visits to the office are always fine, but just be aware that you may have to come back if we are with another client or set up an appointment while you’re here to come back if we are full. With nearly 200 clients in our local area to assist, things can get very busy! Best bet is to call or email first to get put on the calendar so that you can get it all set before any pending deadlines!
Other free info and resources to help you with the upcoming fire season:
Click HERE for the newest “bid grid” so you can find what equipment is up for bid when. It also has the AIMS and EERA links in case you have specific equipment that isn’t covered under regular VIPR contracts; as well as the link for NRCG that has the dispatch lists (for pricing, choose OUT OF AREA DPL) that show the order and the current contracted pricing.
The Forest Service will again be hosting several vendor calls – PLEASE try to participate in one of the three calls to get the latest info on changes to things starting in 2024.
“Vendor Engagement Sessions: We are also hosting three (3) Virtual Vendor Engagement Sessions (Feb 8th, Feb 29th, and March 12th at 1700 MT) that will require vendor registration in advance (meeting invite will be sent out separately to invitees in advance). Registration link is here: https://forms.office.com/g/6QPh9stNZ7.
Access can be achieved through a Microsoft Teams application or through your computer’s browser (no download necessary). There will also be an option to join by telephone only. We will walk through an agreement and clauses, etc.”
Click HERE for the latest flyer regarding RT-130 classes we will be hosting again this year at the MWED office in Kalispell. Due to increased demand, we will be hosting three classes at our office instead of just one. Additional classes may be added if needed for late season hires (May or June).
o Saturday, February 17th 9am-3pm
o Saturday, March 23rd 9am-3pm
o Saturday, April 20th 9am-3pm
These classes are facilitated by Jim Maher from Peanut Pie and do not include the first aid/CPR pieces, it’s strictly the fire training piece; cost and location details on flyer. Let me know if you’d like to register (details also are on the flyer). Here are some additional sources that are also hosting the classes in the region if you can’t make ours:
o Montana Logging Assoc. RT130 classes (these include both first aid and fire training) –
March: 19th – 21st in Kalispell; 26th – 28th in Libby
April: 9th in Hamilton; 10th & 11th in Missoula; 16th in Bozeman; 17th in Seeley Lake; 18th in Harlowton; 23rd – 25th in Deer Lodge; 30th in Plains
o Flathead Valley Community College RT130 class (facilitated by Rick Trembath) – Thurs., March 14th 6-8pm ($35/person)
Another free critical resource this year to take advantage of is being provided by the Department of Labor. They will be providing training to Wildland Firefighting Contractors scheduled on February 13 and 22, 2024, at 1700 MT regarding Wage Determination.
Each session will last for an hour and a half and cover the same information. Topics discussed with be the Fair Labor Standards Act, Migrant and Seasonal Protection Act, and Service Contract Act, including wage determinations and independent contractors. Vendors are highly encouraged to attend. It will help you figure out what the wage requirements are for your fire season workers. Click HERE for the flyer with all details.
KALISPELL PTAC BY THE NUMBERS
Active PTAC Clients in 2022
Total PTAC Awards for Clients in 2022
Total PTAC Awards for Clients in 2022