S. Brooks1, C. Partridge1, M. West2, J. Domitrovich3, J. Sol3, A. Brown1, B. Ruby4, FACSM, A. Roe1

1University of Idaho, Moscow, ID; 2University of California Berkeley School of Public Health; 3National Technology and Development Program, Missoula, MT; 4University of Montana, Missoula, MT

The National Mobile Food Services Contract (NMFSC), developed by the United States Forest Service & National Interagency Fire Center, provides a framework for feeding Wildland Firefighters (WLFFs) in the United States (US). WLFFs’ dietary intake during arduous wildfire suppression is largely dictated by the food items present in the NMFSC to meet the demands of high energy output for long work days (12-16 hrs). Previous research indicates increased frequency of eating episodes may increase energy output (Cuddy et al., 2007; Montain et al., 2008). PURPOSE: To identify WLFFs’ preferred dietary intake during wildfire suppression in order to offer recommendations for the NMFSC and identify opportunities for WLFF nutrition education. METHODS: WLFFs (N=77) in the US participated in an online survey (Qualtrics, Provo, UT) to select entrée, fruit/vegetable (F/V) and snack items, from the current NMFSC, preferred to eat during a theoretical work day, the hour in which each item would be consumed (hr 1-12), and the reasons for choosing items from each category. Descriptive data were reported using SAS software. RESULTS: WLFFs’ self-reported preferred dietary intake consisted of a wide variety of items consumed during all hours of the workday, with hours 3, 5 and 6identified as the most frequent time for eating and hours 1, 11, and 12 least frequent. Only 6 WLFFs indicated a preference to eat at least one item every hour. Snacks and F/V were chosen more frequently than entrées, with preferred items being nuts (n=82), granola bar (n=75), beef/turkey jerky (n=71), apple (n=67), avocado (n=64), non-sugared dried fruit (n=60), carrots (n=56), single serving peanut butter pouch (n=50), peanut butter and jelly sandwich (n=45), hard boiled eggs (n=44), hard salami or summer sausage (n=41), and turkey sandwich (n=38). Most participants indicated that they chose entrée items (n=55) and F/V items (n=57) because “they taste good” and snack items because “they provide me with energy” (n=61). CONCLUSION: When revising the NMFSC in 2020, it is important to not only design a contract that meets the dietary needs of the WLFFs, but that does this through provision of food items that will be consumed. Future comparisons between the actual shift food intake and the reported ideal shift food intake may identify areas for WLFF nutrition education.

Funding Source: USDA, Forest Service National Technology and Development Program, FS Agreement No. 18-CR-11138100-017.

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