Construction begins on new building for Michigan DNR’s Forest Fire Experiment Station

Construction of a new building for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ Roscommon-based Forest Fire Experiment Station (FFES) is under way. The new building will be better equipped to accommodate large vehicles and incorporate new technology to allow for continued work improving and creating equipment to fight wildfires.

“This building will be replacing an outdated facility and will allow DNR staff to better support our firefighters who protect public and private lands,” said Paul Kollmeyer, resource protection manager for the DNR’s Forest Resources Division. “The innovative work this team accomplishes benefits our state as well as cooperative efforts with other states, counties and even countries.”

The FFES is comprised of a team of mechanics, design engineers and metal workers who use their expertise to transform ordinary surplus military vehicles and other equipment into specialized firefighting machines.

The FFES was established by the Natural Resources Commission and the Department of Conservation in 1929 in response to the fires that took place in the late 19th century.

Since it began operating, the Forest Fire Experiment Station has been the center of development for the specialized wildfire-fighting equipment used to help make Michigan one of the top wildfire agencies in the United States. Also, many of the designs from the facility are used by other state and federal wildfire agencies.

In addition to improved and updated space, the FFES will incorporate “green” construction techniques and materials as much as possible to make the space more environmentally friendly than the previous building.

The FFES is located at 1337 E. Robinson Lake Road, Roscommon, on Roscommon County Road 103, three-quarters of a mile east of M18. It is adjacent to the Michigan Firemen’s Memorial.

For more information about the DNR’s fire management program, visit www.michigan.gov/firemanagement.