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State Foresters protect two-thirds of the nation's forests, with jurisdiction over and response to 75 percent of all wildfires. More people in fire-prone landscapes, high fuel loads, drought and unhealthy landscapes are among the factors that have led State Foresters to identify wildland fire as a significant priority issue in their Forest Action Plans.
Wildland fire must be managed across landscapes that are often fragmented into many land ownerships and political jurisdictions. More than a fire management, fire operations, wildland urban interface problem – wildfire is a larger land management and societal issue.
The National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy (Cohesive Strategy) is new roadmap for interagency wildland fire management across the country. The Cohesive Strategy will build on past efforts to direct wildland fire management in the United States, and emphasizes restoring resilient landscapes and promoting fire-adapted communities.
While no one strategy can solve all the problems faced by the nation’s fire community, the Cohesive Strategy will provide a common basis for thoughtfully approaching the complexities of wildland fire and determining the best course of action.
Representatives from NASF played a key role in the crafting of the Cohesive Strategy, and State Foresters also contributed to the release of the Federal Land Assistance, Management and Enhancement (FLAME) Act Of 2009 - Report to Congress. Together, these documents address elements requested by Congress after the passage of the FLAME Act and represent the next stage in an evolving world of wildland fire management with the goal of achieving safer, more efficient, cost-effective public and resource protection goals and more resilient landscapes.
State Fire Assistance (SFA) and Volunteer Fire Assistance (VFA) are the fundamental federal assistance programs that states and local fire departments use to develop preparedness and response capabilities for wildland fire management. They provide crucial financial and technical assistance to support state fire management activities, including preparedness, planning, training, hazardous fuels treatments, and the purchase and maintenance of equipment. In many states, funding cuts have crippled wildfire emergency response capacity. This federal assistance helps to ensure preparedness of local resources, and helps thousands of communities prepare for (and mitigate the risk of) wildland fire.