NASF Responds: “A Warmly Welcomed and Sorely Needed Down-Payment”
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced on March 21, 2023 that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service is investing $197 million in 100 project proposals benefiting 22 states and seven tribes, as part of the Community Wildfire Defense Grant (CWDG) program. The National Association of State Foresters (NASF) acknowledged this long-anticipated announcement: “This is a warmly welcomed and sorely needed down-payment which will serve to address a number of longstanding problems whose solution require a sustained, multi-year investment,” shared NASF executive director Jay Farrell.
The Wildfire Crisis is a national emergency and these threats are not confined to one region nor season. Wildfires don’t recognize boundaries nor management jurisdictions. Community Wildfire Defense Grants directly support the nation’s Wildfire Crisis Strategy by investing in work across state, private, and tribal lands to protect communities, infrastructure and natural resources. America’s forests are in a constant state of fire emergency, described as an “ongoing crisis” by the federal government. These investments enable our nation’s at-risk communities, especially low-income and tribal communities to plan for and take immediate action in response to wildfire threats.
The CWDG program, which makes $1 billion available over a five-year period, selected 100 grant proposals from 22 states and seven tribes using the priorities outlined in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to identify communities in greatest need. These priorities include regions impacted by severe disaster, those with high wildfire hazard potential or classified as low income. NASF is proud to have worked alongside our partners from the Intertribal Timber Council and the Forest Service to develop the guidance for this critical initiative.