What is in this article?:
- Vilsack visits Southwestern fires
- Before fires start
- Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack made aerial assessments of fires in New Mexico and Arizona and toured burned areas.
- Already this year, over a million acres of Forest Service lands have burned in the American Southwest.
Before fires start
Working through cross-jurisdictional partnerships before a fire starts rather than relying on suppression alone is one strategy Vilsack cited. Community partnerships with the Forest Service have an array of tools at their disposal. The National Fire Protection Association's Firewise Communities program, for instance, teaches homeowners, community leaders, planners, developers, firefighters, and others ways to protect people and property from wildfire.
In May, USDA announced a National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy which hopes to engage all levels of government and non-governmental organizations, as well as the public, to seek national, all-lands solutions to wildland fire management issues. USDA also supports the Four Forest Initiative, a northern Arizona project which will work with a host of public and private sector organizations to restore Ponderosa pine across hundreds of thousands of acres on four national forests.
Already this year, over a million acres of Forest Service lands have burned in the American Southwest, as well as another 600,000 acres of federal, state and private lands, costing millions of dollars in immediate fire response and many millions more in restoration and rehabilitation in the months and years ahead.
The mission of the U.S. Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world.