OUR WILDFIRE CRISIS IN THE WEST


A California wildfire burns near a residential area

Over the last several decades, the growing wildfires in the West only gradually reached the crisis proportions we see today. At the Forest Service, we responded by working with other land managers and policymakers. Together, we are rethinking the Nation’s approaches to wildland fire management. We have made advances in collaboration, increased funding for work to reduce wildland fire risk, and aligned actions with partners across landownership boundaries. Although the scale of the work never matched the scale of wildfire risk, we created a collaborative structure that we can build on with our partners to reduce wildfire risk.

However, annual funding for fuels and forest health treatments has been limited and uncertain, and patterns of placing treatments have never approached the scale of the needed work. Federal land managers have sized and placed their treatments based on available funding and social constraints (such as public aversion to logging or smoke) rather than on the needed location at the right scale. Treatments have been further limited by the challenge of coordinating funding and capacity to do the work across landownership boundaries…

This is the new wildfire reality facing much of the West: it is nothing less than a forest health crisis. A healthy forest is resilient— capable of self-renewal following drought, wildfire, beetle outbreaks, and other forest stresses and disturbances—much as a healthy person stands a good chance of recovering from a disease or injury. Fire- adapted forests actually require frequent low-intensity wildland fire to stay healthy by keeping the number of trees and other plants in balance with scarce resources such as water, much as your own health depends on balances within your own body…

We not only need to build means and methods to fight wildfires, we must change and build programs to build healthy forests that can be managed to prevent out-of-control wildfires. That is one of the most significant responsibilities of the programs contained in this document.

6 thoughts on “OUR WILDFIRE CRISIS IN THE WEST

  1. McLeod says:
  2. Will C. says:

    “Forest Service Chief Randy Moore is scheduled to testify today at 10 a.m. EDT before the full Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. It will be live streamed, and a link will likely appear on the Committee’s website.
    The primary purpose of the hearing is to examine the President’s budget request for the U.S. Forest Service for Fiscal Year 2023 which begins in October.
    There is no doubt that some of the Senators will use the opportunity to question Chief Moore about the progress, or lack thereof, to implement the firefighter pay raises signed into law by President Biden eight months ago as part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.” https://wildfiretoday.com/2022/06/08/forest-service-chief-to-testify-before-congress-june-9/

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