Vilsack, Moore announce 10-year forestry plan |

Vilsack, Moore announce 10-year forestry plan

PHOENIX – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Forest Service Chief Randy Moore here today 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.”

Vilsack and Moore made the announcement on Jan. 18 at an event with Sen. Mark Kelly, D-Ariz., and Rep. Tom O’Halleran, D-Ariz.

Vilsack thanked Kelly and O’Halleran for providing some of the funding through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

“The negative impacts of today’s largest wildfires far outpace the scale of efforts to protect homes, communities and natural resources,” said Vilsack. “Our experts expect the trend will only worsen with the effects of a changing climate, so working together toward common goals across boundaries and jurisdictions is essential to the future of these landscapes and the people who live there.”

“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 Moore. “We want to thank Congress, the president and the American people for entrusting us to do this important work.”

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, USDA said.

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.

Vilsack and Moore released a copy of the plan.

Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., applauded the announcement in a news release.

“I’m glad to see USDA and the Forest Service taking a major step toward addressing the devastating wildfires sweeping the West with this new long-term strategy,” said Bennet. “The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act provided a significant down payment to begin this desperately needed effort to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire. Looking ahead, we need to support USDA’s work by making a sustained, long-term investment in our forests and watersheds, in line with my Outdoor Restoration Partnership Act. I’ll continue to look for any and every opportunity to make that a reality.”


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