Confronting the Wildfire Crisis
In January 2022, the Forest Service launched a robust, 10-year strategy to address the wildfire crisis in the places where it poses the most immediate threats to communities. The strategy, called “Confronting the Wildfire Crisis: A Strategy for Protecting Communities and Improving Resilience in America’s Forests,” (leer en español) combines a historic investment of congressional funding with years of scientific research and planning into a national effort that will dramatically increase the scale and pace of forest health treatments over the next decade. Through the strategy, the agency will work with states, Tribes and other partners to addresses wildfire risks to critical infrastructure, protect communities, and make forests more resilient.
In early 2023, the USDA Forest Service added 11 additional landscapes. This announcement followed a year of progress in collaborating with partners across 10 initial landscapes to address wildfire risk to infrastructure and communities.
News and Announcements:
- Press Kit
- 2023: Biden-Harris Administration Launches New Efforts to Address the Wildfire Crisis
- 2022: Biden Administration Announces Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Wildfire Mitigation Investments
- 2022: Secretary Vilsack Announces New 10-Year Strategy to Confront the Wildfire Crisis
- 2022: Joint USDA Forest Service/Department of the Interior Wildfire Crisis letter
Implementing the Wildfire Crisis Strategy
- Read the National Prescribed Fire Resource Mobilization Strategy
- See how the agency is implementing the Wildfire Crisis Strategy.
- Read the Wildfire Crisis Strategy progress summary.
- Explore an online tool that shows hazardous fuels reduction projects occurring in support of the Wildfire Crisis Strategy.
- Read a chronicle from the National Fire Plan to the Wildfire Crisis Strategy.
- Read about the agency’s 10 initial landscapes and additional 11 landscapes.
- January 19, 2023: Wildfire Crisis Fact Sheet
From the Chief's Desk
- 2023: Wildfire letter of intent 2023
- 2023: Announcing expanded efforts to reduce wildfire risk [VIDEO]
- 2022: Wildfire Crisis Strategy announcement [VIDEO]
- 2022: A Message to USDA Forest Service Employees
Coming Together to Address the Wildfire Crisis
Though the Forest Service has been working to manage the health of millions of acres of national forests across the American West for decades, the scale, pace and methods of work on the ground have not matched the need. With the support of our partners, states, Tribes and local communities, the Forest Service is collaboratively implementing this new strategy across jurisdictions and landownerships to protect communities, critical infrastructure, watersheds, habitats, and recreational areas.
Overgrown forests, a warming climate, and a growing number of homes in the wildland-urban interface, following more than a century of rigorous fire suppression, have all contributed to what is now a full-blown wildfire and forest health crisis.
The Forest Service is working with partners to focus fuels and forest health treatments more strategically and at the scale of the problem, using the best available science as a guide. Through investments from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act, wildfire risk reduction work will occur on 21 landscapes across 134 firesheds in the western U.S. where projects are ready to begin or to expand.
Wildfire Crisis Strategy Roundtables
To assist in developing the implementation plan, the Forest Service with the National Forest Foundation convened virtual roundtable events in the nine Forest Service regions, as well as nationally, to engage employees and partners. A Tribal roundtable was also hosted by the Intertribal Timber Council. The roundtables began in February 2022 and concluded in June 2022.
The National Forest Foundation Roundtables yielded over 3,000 recommendations related to implementing the 10-Year Wildfire Crisis Strategy, and the Forest Service has been taking these recommendations into consideration in how we move out on this work.
Ten common themes emerged from roundtables across the country:
- Embrace changes to Forest Service business practices and shifts in agency culture.
- Improve internal and external communication related to the crisis and what is necessary for success.
- Recruit and maintain a workforce capable of meeting the necessary pace and scale of restoration.
- Update partnership mechanisms and requirements for cross-boundary funding and implementation.
- Honor Tribal sovereignty and history; leverage learning, priorities, and capacity; and incorporate indigenous traditional ecological knowledge.
- Build equity and resilience into planning and implementation.
- Expand markets and forest materials processing infrastructure.
- Build shared understanding and support for the use of fire as an essential tool for ecosystem resilience.
- Invest in open and transparent information sharing and use of shared data and models.
- Help decision makers and publics understand tradeoffs and benefits of management for forest resiliency.