A new online wildfire resource for journalists, wildfire workers, and the public has been launched by The Nature Conservancy, called Wildfire News, during this historic wildfire year. This free online resource combines ongoing social media wildfire updates from all over the country with daily reports from the National Interagency Fire Center.
“This is the only resource that combines official federal wildfire response information with news gathered first-hand from regular folks in places where fires are happening,” said Jon Schwedler of The Nature Conservancy.
The Nature Conservancy is the only non-governmental agency that applies planned, controlled burns across the country. It also facilitates the Fire Learning Network, a 10-year old partnership with the U.S. Departments of Interior and Agriculture, respectively, to promote the safe and appropriate use of fire to improve the health of lands for people, water, and wildlife.
In addition to national fire information, Wildfire News also provides personal stories from Conservancy staff in the field working with fire, called Wildfire Journal.
The last decade has seen an increase in the number and size of wildfires. Since 1960 the five biggest wildfire years in the United States have all occurred in the last eight years.
“A forested area the size of California and West Virginia combined is in immediate need of restoration in the United States,” added Schwedler. “This unhealthy condition, combined with drought and climate change, are further complicating the risk of destructive, unnatural megafires.”
Forests cover one-third of the United States; store and filter half the nation’s water supply; provide jobs to more than a million wood products workers; absorb nearly 20% of U.S. carbon emissions; offer 650 million acres of recreational lands that generate well over $15 billion in annual economic activity; and provide habitat for thousands of species. The Nature Conservancy is working to preserve those services.
The Nature Conservancy has fire experts in every state in the nation. Members of the media are encouraged to contact The Nature Conservancy to speak with fire experts in their respective states.
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.