A nonpartisan report commissioned by Congress and published on September 27 offers recommendations to address increasingly severe risk from extreme wildfires and reshape the nation’s relationship to fire.
On Fire: The Report of the Wildland Fire Mitigation and Management Commission lays out 148 federal policy recommendations that address almost every aspect of wildfire management in the United States.
The impacts of recent catastrophic wildfires, including the deadliest fire in more than 100 years in Maui and smoke-related air quality degradation throughout much of the country, have made clear the need to urgently address the crisis of extreme wildfires through policy action.
“TNC is grateful for the vision and exhaustive work of the commission to develop consensus-based wildfire policy recommendations to Congress,” said Kameran Onley, managing director of North American Policy and Government Relations for The Nature Conservancy (TNC). “We are encouraged to see such close alignment between the commission’s recommendations and TNC’s vision for building wildfire resilience, particularly around the need for an ‘all hands, all lands’ approach to restore forests and return beneficial fire to the landscape.”
The commission’s recommendations align with TNC’s recent publication, in partnership with Aspen Institute, of the Roadmap for Wildfire Resilience: Solutions for a Paradigm Shift. The roadmap also identifies policy recommendations for Congress and federal agencies to proactively build resilience of human and ecological systems to wildfire.
“With the important contributions from the commission and our roadmap, we are excited to get to work with partners and policy makers in shifting to an approach based on restoring and managing landscapes, reducing impacts and improving the safety of wildfire response actions, and enabling communities to better coexist with fire in their landscapes,” Onley stated.
Congress established the commission as part of the Infrastructure Investments and Jobs Act in 2021. The commission was developed as a nonpartisan body with diverse members from all relevant sectors, including representatives from federal agencies; state, local, and Tribal governments; nongovernmental entities; academia; and the private sector. Congress charged the commission with developing a set of comprehensive policy solutions to address all facets of the wildfire crisis, which are laid out in the report published today.
Marek Smith, North America fire director for TNC, was chosen to serve as one of two representatives of 501(c)3 organizations with expertise in forest management and conservation on the 50-member Commission.
The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in more than 70 countries and territories, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.