Current restoration goals include thinning and using fire as a management tool to reduce fuel loads. (Photo by Clint Gould, U.S. Forest Service)
Like a phoenix rising from ashes, blackened portions of the Stanislaus National Forest, which were left by the Rim Fire that blazed through the Sierras in August of 2013, have begun to spring to life. Left with a burn scar that is one-third larger than New York City, a reforestation team is diligently working to bring forth a new forest.
Since the fire, much has been done in the way of making the forest safe for public travel and recreation along main travel routes. Snags and fire-damaged trees present significant safety hazards to humans. They also create a tremendous fuel load on the ground (biomass) as they fall. This fuel can feed future fires, which can be severely damaging to the soil. Read more »
With the annual hurricane season brewing and potential winter storms on the horizon – not to mention the ever-present tornadoes, earthquakes, drought and fire – federal agencies are joining forces this month to help Americans prepare for and survive disasters.
September is National Preparedness Month and America’s PrepareAthon! is a national awareness campaign to get families and communities thinking about how to respond in the event of a disaster or other emergency. Saluting the “Be Disaster Aware, Take Action to Prepare” theme, the month’s events conclude on September 30 with National PrepareAthon! Day. Are you getting involved? Read more »
Spiraling firefighting costs have shrunk the budget for critical forest and rangeland priorities, including investing in Forest Service programs designed to mitigate the impacts of wildfire.
Over the past twenty years, a changing climate, population growth near forests and rangelands, and the buildup of brush and other fuels have dramatically increased the severity of wildfires and the damage that they cause to our natural lands and communities. Year after year, fire seasons grow longer and longer, destroying homes, threatening critical infrastructure and the watersheds that provide clean drinking water to millions of people. Between 1980 and 2011, the average annual number of fires on Federal land more than doubled, and the total area burned annually tripled. Even as fire seasons have grown, the way we pay to fight these fires remains unchanged – and fundamentally broken.
The Forest Service’s firefighting appropriation has rapidly increased as a proportion of the Forest Service’s overall budget, increasing from 16 percent in 1995 to 42 percent today. As the costs of wildfires have spiraled out of control, it has shrunk the budget of other Forest Service programs, taking millions of dollars from other critical forest health and land management priorities in order to pay for them. What’s more, often the programs we are forced to divert funds from are the very programs which help to mitigate the impact of wildfires. Read more »
The Tallac Hotshots are a valuable resource to the Lake Tahoe community by carrying out initial attack for wildfires that occur in and around the Lake Tahoe Basin. (U.S. Forest Service)
A group of 20 determined firefighters from the U.S. Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit completed a demanding and extensive certification process to become the first Interagency Hotshot Crew from Lake Tahoe. Formerly the Tallac Hand Crew, the Tallac Hotshots join an exclusive group of roughly 2,000 firefighters across the country.
“The certification of the Tallac Hotshots is a significant event for the Lake Tahoe Basin,” said Forest Supervisor Nancy Gibson. “Fire suppression in the Basin is vital to our communities and it’s reassuring, particularly in light of the anticipated active fire season, to have such a key resource of well-trained and experienced firefighters in our area.” Read more »
Over the past several years, we have seen the spread and occurrence of wildfires increase significantly. Deadly wildfires threaten our homes and communities and turn lives upside down.
USDA continues to do all that we can to protect people, homes and our forests in the face of fire. Just this week, we announced four new airtanker additions to the U.S. Forest Service’s next-generation firefighting fleet, which brings the total amount of aircraft to 21 large air tankers (with opportunities to add additional aircraft, if needed) and more than 100 helicopters. These new aircraft will enter service in the coming weeks and support over 10,000 firefighters during this year’s wildfire season. Read more »
Farmers, ranchers and foresters have long understood the need to care for our land and water—not only because preserving those resources for our children and their children is the right thing to do, but because they know that our farms and forests are more productive and efficient when they’re properly cared for.
Science and technology has expanded our capability and improved our understanding over the years, but this core mission remains the same. Today’s farmers and ranchers have risen to the twin responsibilities of producing safe, affordable food while employing cutting edge conservation practices on their operations to conserve water, minimize runoff, prevent soil erosion, and preserve wildlife habitat. They know that this will only become more critical as we take on the challenges of feeding a growing global population and dealing with the impacts of a changing climate. Read more »