Announcing the 2016 Smokey Bear Award Winners

Along with its partners at the USDA Forest Service and the Ad Council, NASF is pleased to announce the 2016 National Smokey Bear Awards winners.

Since 1957, this prestigious awards program has recognized organizations and individuals for outstanding service to prevent wildfires. The awardees have demonstrated significant impact at the national level (Gold), multi-state level (Silver), and statewide level (Bronze). These awards remind us of the hard work that all Americans can do to reduce the threat of human­ caused wildfires.

Study about Historical Fire Records Can Inform Forest Management Decisions

University of Missouri researchers have studied tree rings in Oklahoma and Tennessee to determine the areas’ history of fires. Understanding how fire has maintained forest ecosystems in the past makes it possible to determine the best ways to use fire to maintain those forests in the future.

Michael Stambaugh, the study’s lead author, says “the history of fire in America also is the history of humans on this continent. … [E]verywhere we see humans move, we see fires follow or be altered.”

Congress debates the future of wildfire funding and forest management

As wildfires burn in the West, debate on wildfire suppression funding has heated up in the nation’s capital. Even though the portion of the US Forest Service budget dedicated to fire suppression has been increasing steadily, these funds are routinely exhausted before the fire season ends. As such, the Forest Service must borrow from its other programs to fight fires, such as those meant to actively manage forests and prevent future fires.

Wildland Firefighter Week of Remembrance

The inaugural Wildland Firefighter Week of Remembrance runs June 30-July 6 and is dedicated to all those who have fallen in the line of duty. This awareness week serves as an opportunity to renew our commitment to the health, wellness and safety of wildland firefighters.

Over many decades, lessons learned from accidents and fatalities that have occurred on wildland fires have led to significant improvements in firefighter education, training, operational practices, and risk management processes. Unfortunately, wildland firefighting remains inherently hazardous.

Senate ENR Holds Hearing on Wildfire Funding

By Greg Pilchak

On June 23rd, the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources held a hearing to receive testimony on the recent discussion draft entitled “Wildfire Budgeting, Response and Forest Management Act of 2016.” The hearing on the bill focused on three main issues: 1) the need to end “fire borrowing”; 2) the growing portion of the USDA Forest Service’s (USFS) budget consumed by wildfire suppression funds; and 3) the need for forestry reforms to encourage more active management.