The following is a statement from Carlos Fernández, state director of The Nature Conservancy (TNC) in Colorado, and Cecilia Clavet, a TNC senior policy advisor, in response to the announcement by Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland and Randy Moore, chief of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s U.S. Forest Service (USFS), of “10 Initial Landscape Investments.”
The announcement is part of USFS's 10-year plan to address wildfire risk throughout the United States. According to the agency, these 10 priority landscapes will apply funds from the bipartisan infrastructure law and other funding to provide treatments that will reduce wildfire risk primarily in western states.
Carlos Fernández, State Director, TNC in Colorado: “We are thrilled to welcome Secretary Haaland and Chief Moore to Colorado to announce the next phase of their 10-year strategy to address wildfire risk. “Colorado is no stranger to the devastating effects of increased wildfires, with the largest fires in our state’s history occurring within the last three years. We know that in order to address the growing threat of large-scale wildfires and longer fire seasons, we need to increase investments in wildfire resilience.
That’s why it’s promising to see the Front Range landscape is a priority for federal land management agencies as they plan to scale up their efforts to address wildfire risk. Our forests are so important to our quality of life here in Colorado, they clean our air and water, sustain wildlife and provide opportunities for recreation. We look forward to working together to ensure they are healthy, our communities are safe, and our way of life can continue into the future.”
Cecilia Clavet, Senior Policy Advisor, TNC: “Colorado is not alone. The entire western United States is facing unprecedented, large-scale wildfires, exacerbated by climate change. We need to build resilience of our forests and rangelands, reduce risk to communities and ensure people are empowered and prepared to live safely with fire. Wildfire resilience is an all-of-society challenge in need of an all-of-society approach. We commend the Departments of Agriculture and the Interior for prioritizing landscapes with the highest risk of wildfire. This will ensure investments are going to communities that need it most.
“The announcement today is a great step forward for the Forest Service’s 10-year strategy. The investments provided through the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act represent an important down payment for wildfire resilience. TNC will continue to support investing in wildfire resilience to meet the longer-term training, capacity building and workforce development needs.
Partnerships are essential to maintain and sustain this work. TNC partners with federal land management agencies, Indigenous peoples and other federal and non-federal partners 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 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.