News Release

USDA Releases $118 Million for Community Fire Assistance Programs

March 1, 2001 -

Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman today announced the release of $118 million for community fire assistance programs. The funds will support USDA Forest Service's National Fire Plan, which was developed to reduce the impact of wildfires on natural resources and communities.

"The funds are important for protecting lives and property from the threat of severe wildfires," said Veneman. " We look forward to working collaboratively with communities and our state and federal partners to deliver these programs."

The funds will be used for state fire assistance programs; forest health management to reduce fire risks and prevent and control invasive species; and economic action programs that guide community planning, technology assistance, and resource based enterprise development. The funds will also support community and private land fire assistance programs, which are designed to mitigate fire hazards in rural and wildland/urban interface communities.

In addition to community assistance programs, the National Fire Plan includes hiring 3,500 new firefighters and fire support staff, restoring and rehabilitating fire-damaged ecosystems and watersheds, and reducing natural fuels to decrease fire risks.

National Fire Plan Funding, USDA Forest Service

FY 2001 Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, P.L. 106-291


Programs Amount Description of Activities to be Accomplished
Title IV Emergency Contingency Funds    
Cooperative Fire Protection :    
State Fire Assistance:    
State preparedness: 10,832,000 Improve state fire readiness to complement Federal capability.
Firewise 3,200,000 Provide fire prevention education to improve community and homeowner readiness to prepare for wildland fires.
Hazard Mitigation and Prevention 28,868,000 Reduce hazardous fuel accumulation on 395,000 acres in high-risk areas and develop defensible space for improved fire protection.
Kenai Peninsula Borough 7,483,000 Improve forest health and fire protection capability as outlined in the spruce bark beetle task force action plan.
Subtotal, State Fire Assistance 50,383,000  
Volunteer Fire Assistance 8,262,000 Equip and train 4,000 rural volunteer fire departments to improve the fire protection readiness capability of local communities.
Subtotal, Cooperative Fire Protection 58,645,000  
Forest Health Management (invasive species) 11,974,000 Reduce the spread of invasive species due to fires.
Economic Action Programs 12,472,000 Expand and develop markets for woods products resulting from fuel removal.
Community and Private Land Fire Assistance :    
Fence Reconstruction 8,980,000 Reconstruct fire damaged fences in the Western States.
Hazard Mitigation 5,987,000 Reduce hazardous fuel accumulation in high-risk areas and develop defensible space for improved fire protection.
Multi-resource Stewardship Planning 6,985,000 Enhance multi-resource stewardship planning to ensure effective fire protection treatments in the wildland-urban interface.
Economic Action Programs Pilot Projects 7,982,000 Initiate pilot projects for improved utilization of removed fuel, including biomass conversion.
Community Planning for Fire Protection 4,989,000 Support community planning to develop and maintain protection capabilities in high-risk areas in the wildland-urban interface.
Subtotal, Community and Private Land Fire

Assistance :

Subtotal, Title IV State & Private 118,014,000