The following is a statement from Cecilia Clavet, senior policy advisor at The Nature Conservancy, in response to U.S. Forest Service’s release of its Wildfire Crisis Strategy, a 10-year plan to address wildfire risk throughout the United States:
“With the release of its new wildfire strategy, the U.S. Forest Service is beginning to scale up efforts to address the growing wildfire threat across 50 million acres of the highest at-risk western landscapes. As each wildfire season is likely to be worse than the last, we need more investment in forests and rangelands. Additional funding will increase the resilience of these lands to catastrophic wildfires, reduce risk to communities, and ensure people are empowered and prepared to live safely with fire. The bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, signed into law last year, provides an opportunity to shift the paradigm in how we invest in and manage our forests’ wildfire resilience.
“We applaud the Forest Service’s dedication to working with its partners, including other federal and state agencies, tribes, states, private landowners and communities, to implement projects across all boundaries. This needs to be an all-hands-on-deck effort to increase the pace and scale of work in a manner that is strategic and effective, while drawing upon equitable partnerships, the best available science and Indigenous values.
“Prescribed fire plays an important role in achieving wildfire resilience and should be prioritized as a tool. The Nature Conservancy has been a leader on prescribed fire for the past 60 years, and this work remains a priority for us as we focus on ways to adapt to and mitigate climate change. We have a long history of collaborating with the Forest Service, Indigenous peoples and other federal and non-federal partners and look forward to working together to achieve a better future with fire.”
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 76 countries and territories—37 by direct conservation impact and 39 through partners—we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.