U.S. Agricultural Secretary Announces “Paradigm Shift” to Address U.S. Wildfire Crisis

U.S. Agricultural Secretary Tom Vilsack and Forest Service Chief Randy Moore announced today (1-19-22) that they will be launching a comprehensive response to the nation’s growing wildfire crisis with a report entitled “Confronting the Wildfire Crisis: A Strategy for Protecting Communities and Improving Resilience in America’s Forests.” The strategy outlines the need to significantly increase fuels and forest health treatments to address the escalating crisis of wildfire danger that threatens millions of acres and numerous communities across the United States.

The strategy highlights new research on what Forest Service scientists identified as high risk “firesheds” — large, forested landscapes with a high likelihood that an ignition could expose homes, communities, infrastructure, and natural resources to wildfire. Firesheds, typically about 250,000 acres in size, are mapped to match the scale of community exposure to wildfire.

The Forest Service will use this risk-based information to engage with partners and create shared priorities for landscape scale work to equitably and meaningfully change the trajectory of risk for people, communities, and natural resources, including areas important for water, carbon, and wildlife.

The groundwork in this new strategy will begin in areas identified as being at the highest risk, based on community exposure. Additional high-risk areas for water and other values are being identified. Some of the highest risk areas based on community exposure include the Pacific Northwest, the Sierra Nevada Range in California, the front range in Colorado, and the Southwest.

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provides nearly $3 billion to reduce hazardous fuels and restore America’s forests and grasslands, along with investments in fire-adapted communities and post fire reforestation. Funds will be used to begin implementing this critical work.


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Original Source:
Forest Service in ‘paradigm shift’ to use logging, controlled burns to prevent wildfires