US Forest Service launches interactive map showing progress made in addressing wildfire crisis in eight western states as part of agency's 10-year wildfire crisis strategy

Sample article from our Government & Public Policy

WASHINGTON , November 15, 2022 (press release) –

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service has launched a new interactive map showing the progress the agency and its partners have made in addressing the wildfire crisis in eight western states as part of the Forest Service’s 10-year wildfire crisis strategy. This easy-to-use “story map” gives users the opportunity to see the impact of the historic investments from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law across 10 initial landscapes in Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, Montana, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona.

This announcement comes as USDA celebrates the accomplishments made since the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law was signed one year ago.

“Western states are living the reality of climate change every day, where record droughts and catastrophic fire threaten lives and livelihoods like we have never seen in our history,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “This new resource gives everyone a chance to see the real impacts of the on-the-ground work the USDA Forest Service and its partners have already done to protect the communities and the resources that are most at risk.”

“We are working with communities and partners to implement critical hazardous fuels work on the initial landscapes. This work will meaningfully change how people, communities, and natural resources experience risk from wildfire,” said Forest Service Chief Randy Moore. “With this story map, audiences across the country can see in real-time where investments are being made to create safer communities and healthier, more resilient forests.”

This online story map is designed to be easy to use and is continually updated to show the progress of wildfire reduction efforts on national forests and grasslands as well as other federally managed, state, and private lands. Individual landscape maps allow users to interactively identify national forests, Congressional Districts, active partners, landscape boundaries and “firesheds,” or areas where wildfire is likely to pose the greatest risk to communities and resources.

Since it was first announced earlier this year, the Forest Service and its partners have used the best available science to identify the highest risk landscapes for treatment projects as part of the 10-year wildfire crisis strategy. The Forest Service found that around 80% of the wildfire risk to communities is concentrated in fewer than 10% of firesheds.

These initial investments focus on firesheds of the highest risk, where projects are ready to begin or to expand. The first-year investments are a part of the strategy to reduce the exposure of communities and infrastructure to the risk of catastrophic wildfire. A detailed update on first-year investments is available at https://www.fs.usda.gov/managing-land/wildfire-crisis/landscapes.

Each year the Forest Service will plan and implement more work as part of the 10-year strategy as funding allows, continuing to reduce the risks of extreme wildfire for communities in these vulnerable areas.

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