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Feds Announce $50-Billion Wildfire Prevention Plan

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Washington, DC — The federal government is planning to spend $50-billion over the next decade to step up wildfire prevention efforts in heavily forested areas.

The goal is to double the use of strategies like prescribed fires and logging to reduce fuel buildup.

US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says, “The negative impacts of today’s largest wildfires far outpace the scale of efforts to protect homes, communities and natural resources. 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.”

The work will begin this year and initially focus on western states that have been impacted by recent catastrophic fires. Vilsack says it includes the Sierra Nevada in California, the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, and parts of Arizona, Oregon and Washington.

Vilsack says there will always be wildfires, but the question is, “how catastrophic do those fires have to be.”

He says the US Forest Service plans to use risk-based information to identify projects and work with local groups to create “shared priorities” for landscape work.

The strategy calls for the Forest Service to treat up to an additional 20 million acres on national forests and grasslands and support treatment of up to an additional 30 million acres of other federal, state, Tribal, private and family lands