A new map shows the impact of the bipartisan Infrastructure Act on the Forest Service, and partners’ efforts to reduce hazardous fuels in western states
Washington, November 15, 2022 The Biden-Harris administration announces today that the USDA Forest Service has released 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 its 10-year wildfire crisis strategy (PDF, 32MB). This easy-to-use “story map” gives users the opportunity to see the impact of historic investments from President Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure act across 10 primary landscapes (PDF, 9MB) in Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, Montana, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona.
The announcement comes as the USDA celebrates the achievements since signing the bipartisan Infrastructure Act one year ago.
“Western countries live with the reality of climate change every day, with catastrophic droughts and fires threatening lives and livelihoods like never before in our history,” said Agriculture Minister Tom Vilsack. “This new resource gives everyone a chance to see the real effects of the work on the ground that the USDA Forest Service and its partners have already done to protect the communities and resources most at risk.”
“We are working with communities and partners to implement critical hazardous fuel actions on primary landscapes. This work will meaningfully change the way people, communities, and natural resources experience wildfire hazards,” said Randy Moore, Forest Service chief. “With this story map, the public can across the country to 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 progress in wildfire reduction efforts in national forests and grasslands as well as private, federally managed, and private lands. Individual landscape maps allow users to interactively identify national forests, congressional districts, active partners, landscape boundaries, and “fire points,” or areas where wildfires are likely to pose the greatest threat 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 most dangerous landscapes for remediation projects as part of their 10-year wildfire crisis strategy. The Forest Service found that about 80% of the wildfire risk to communities is concentrated in less than 10% of wildfires.
These initial investments focus on the higher risk early stages, when projects are ready to start or expand. The first year investments are part of a strategy to reduce the vulnerability of communities and infrastructure to catastrophic wildfires. A detailed update on first-year investments is available at: www.fs.usda.gov/sites/default/files/fs_media/fs_document/WCS-Progress-Summary.pdf (PDF, 7 MB).
Each year the Forest Service will plan and implement more work as part of its 10-year strategy as funding allows, continuing to reduce the risk of severe wildfires for communities in these vulnerable areas.
The USDA touches the lives of all Americans every day in many positive ways. Under the Biden-Harris Administration, the USDA is transforming the American food system with a greater focus on more resilient domestic and regional food production, promoting fairer competition and markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy, nutritious food in all communities, and building new markets and income streams for farmers and producers who use climate-smart food and forest practices, make historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and commit to equality across governance by removing systemic barriers and building a more representative workforce. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.
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