State foresters declare National Prescribed Fire Act of 2021 a “win-win-win for forests, wildland fire management, and public health.”
WASHINGTON—The National Association of State Foresters has offered its full support for the National Prescribed Fire Act of 2021, a bill introduced Thursday in the Senate by Sens. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Joe Manchin, D-W.V., Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., and Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and in the House by Reps. Kim Schrier, D-Wash., Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, and Kurt Schrader, D-Ore.
“There is an immediate need for the return of low intensity fire to our landscapes,” said NASF President and Arkansas State Forester Joe Fox. “Prescribed fire is used to reduce dangerous wildfire fuel loads and promote resiliency in our forests by simulating natural disturbance. The National Prescribed Fire Act offers a legislative solution that will allow state foresters to increase their use of prescribed fire to improve forest health, mitigate wildfire damages, and prevent mega smoke emissions from wildfires. This bill is a win-win-win for forests, wildland fire management, and public health.”
The National Prescribed Fire Act of 2021 would:
- Create $300-million accounts for both the USDA Forest Service (Forest Service) and the Department of the Interior (DOI) to plan, prepare, and conduct controlled burns on federal, state, and private lands.
- Require (1) the Forest Service and DOI to increase the number of acres treated with controlled burns and (2) state air quality agencies to use current laws and regulations to allow for larger controlled burns in winter.
- Establish a $10 million collaborative program (modeled after the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program) to implement controlled burns on county, state, and private lands at high risk of wildfire.
- Establish a workforce development program at the Forest Service and DOI to develop, train, and hire prescribed fire practitioners.
For more information about this legislation, click here.
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