Forest Service promises massive, long-range and much needed support to protect America’s forests and communities from wildfire

The National Association of State Foresters is proud to have worked closely with the USDA Forest Service in developing a long-range, first-of-its-kind plan to protect, conserve, and enhance America’s forested landscapes most threatened by catastrophic wildfire.

WASHINGTON—The nation’s state and territorial foresters stand in strong support of the USDA Forest Service’s newly released 10-Year Wildfire Crisis Strategy. “Confronting the Wildfire Crisis: A Strategy for Protecting Communities and Improving Resilience in America’s Forests” provides a phased approach to reducing wildfire risk in our communities, watersheds, habitats, and recreational areas nationwide, while boosting the health and resilience of America’s forested landscapes.

“Substantial increases in active forest management and fuels treatments across all ownership boundaries, nationwide, are essential to mitigating catastrophic wildfires and their disastrous effects. The plan released by the Forest Service today represents a huge step forward toward safer, more fire-resilient forests and communities in every region of the United States,” said NASF President and Connecticut State Forester Christopher Martin.

“Wildfires in the West may be top of mind,” Martin continued, “but managing wildfire is truly a national call-to-action that spans all landscapes and every state in this country. All of the nation’s state foresters stand ready to work shoulder-to-shoulder with the Forest Service on implementing this national strategy.”

With the bipartisan Infrastructure Investments and Jobs Act, Congress provided nearly $3 billion in funding over the next five years for hazardous fuels reduction and restoration work nationwide. A considerable amount of this funding will be utilized by the Forest Service in accordance with their new ten-year wildfire crisis strategy to treat up to an additional 20 million acres on National Forest System lands, and up to an additional 30 million acres of other federal, state, tribal, and private lands.

This work will be achieved in coordination with partners, like state forestry agencies, and will help address the top state-defined priorities identified in Forest Action Plans. State foresters, and the 27,000 professionals they lead, stand ready to partner with the Forest Service and other important allies in forestry to target wildfire risk with at-scale projects, while leveraging diverse capacities and garnering broad public support.

“We already have the tools, the knowledge and the partnerships in place to begin this work in many of our national forests and grasslands, and now we have funding that will allow us to build on the research and the lessons learned to address this wildfire crisis facing many of our communities,” said Forest Service Chief Randy Moore. “Working with our partners toward common goals across boundaries and jurisdictions is essential to the future of these landscapes and the people who live there.”

In addition to working with partners to dramatically increase fuels and forest health treatments by up to four times current treatment levels in the West, the Forest Service has pledged to develop a $1-billion-program for Community Wildfire Defense Grants, which benefit at-risk communities. To learn more, read the Forest Service’s wildfire crisis report and its ten-year implementation plan.

Contact: Whitney Forman-Cook, NASF Communications Director at wforman-cook@stateforesters.org


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