Wasatch Wildfire Crisis Landscape Project






As authorized by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Wasatch Priority Landscape Project is one of 10 new investment projects of the Forest Service's Wildfire Crisis Strategy.

Learn more about the Wildfire Crisis Strategy in the Intermountain Region.

Wasatch Wildfire Crisis Landscape Project

The Wasatch landscape encompasses approximately 1.1 million acres, including National Forest System, State, private, and Bureau of Land Management lands. Fire hazard on about 382,000 acres of the Wasatch landscape is classified as high or very high, threatening watersheds, plant and wildlife habitats, recreational opportunities, and private property. The landscape encompasses four high-priority firesheds, as well as high-priority landscapes under Utah’s Shared Stewardship agreement.

Values to be Protected

Northern Utah has some of the Nation’s fastest growing areas in the wildland-urban interface, with an increasing number of communities at risk of wildfire, 92 of which are within or adjacent to the landscape. Watersheds in the landscape furnish drinking water to more than 2 million people; these watersheds are highly sensitive to projected increases in drought, heat, and flooding, as well as the effects of wildfires, insect and disease outbreaks, and land use change. The landscape has more than 300 miles of regionally important energy infrastructure supporting the growing population of northern Utah. Recreational values and infrastructure in the area support more than 13 million visitors a year, including a $1.4-billion ski industry with seven resorts (five on national forest lands).

Numerous communities: Wasatch Front, Wasatch Back, Tooele, private property landowners.

High value Recreation areas: Four ski areas, high use mountain bike areas, developed campgrounds, snowmobile trailheads.

Important ecosystem services: Watershed, wildlife, electronic sites, bridges/roads, powerlines, other infrastructure. 

Partnerships are Critical

Utah’s Watershed Restoration Initiative, including dozens of partners who contribute funding for fuels and forest health treatments to reduce wildfire risk; the fuels focus group for the central Wasatch Front, which includes the State of Utah, Salt Lake City Public Utilities, Salt Lake County, and Save Our Canyons; and the Summit and Wasatch County Collaborative Fuels Reduction Group.

Existing Agreements/Partnerships

  • Utah’s Watershed Restoration Initiative
  • State of Utah
  • Salt Lake City Public Utilities
  • Salt Lake County
  • Save Our Canyons
  • Wasatch County Collaborative Fuels Reduction Group

Ongoing Efforts

A team comprised from the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest is developing an action plan. Once finalized, action plan will establish a framework to guide implementation across the landscape.

The Forest’s strategy for reducing long-term wildfire risk includes:

  1. Cross-boundary mechanical treatments to reduce risk to private property and infrastructure in the WUI.
  2. Creation or strengthening of strategic fuel breaks utilizing Potential Operational Delineations to facilitate prescribed fire, increase opportunities for the use of beneficial wildfire, and assist with suppression actions on unwanted fires.
  3. Mechanical and prescribed fire forest and watershed restoration treatments to reduce fuel loading and build resilience to future disturbances exacerbated by a changing climate, focusing on critical watersheds.

Accomplishments to Date

At the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest, we have a well-established framework for responding to the wildfire crisis across jurisdictional boundaries on the Wasatch landscape, including a history of collaboration with Federal, State, and local partners and nongovernmental organizations. For the past 10 years, we have collaborated extensively with Utah’s Watershed Restoration Initiative to plan and carry out vegetation treatments that reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire.

More information and map - Wasatch Landscape