Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Forest Service Chief Randy Moore recently launched a comprehensive response to the nation’s growing wildfire crisis – “Confronting the Wildfire Crisis: A Strategy for Protecting Communities and Improving Resilience in America’s Forests.” The strategy outlines the need to significantly increase fuels and forest health treatments to address the escalating crisis of wildfire danger that threatens millions of acres and numerous communities across the United States.
The Forest Service will work with other federal agencies, including the Department of the Interior, and with Tribes, states, local communities, private landowners, and other partners to focus fuels and forest health treatments more strategically and at the scale of the problem, based on the best available science.
The strategy highlights new research on what Forest Service scientists identified as high risk “firesheds” – large, forested landscapes with a high likelihood that an ignition could expose homes, communities, infrastructure and natural resources to wildfire. Firesheds, typically about 250,000 acres in size, are mapped to match the scale of community exposure to wildfire.
The Forest Service will use this risk-based information to engage with partners and create shared priorities for landscape scale work, to equitably and meaningfully change the trajectory of risk for people, communities and natural resources, including areas important for water, carbon and wildlife.
The groundwork in this new strategy will begin in areas identified as being at the highest risk, based on community exposure. Additional high risk areas for water and other values are being identified. Some of the highest risk areas based on community exposure include the Pacific Northwest, the Sierra Nevada Range in California, the front range in Colorado, and the Southwest.
Read the full article from the U.S. Department of Agriculture here.