Western states to get federal wildfire risk reduction funding
Colorado – The U.S. Forest Service will commit $131 million in initial funding to prescribe wildfire risk reduction treatments for 10 landscapes comprising 208,000 acres in western states.
Since releasing its 10-year wildfire strategy earlier this year, the Forest Service and its partners have worked to identify the highest risk landscapes for treatment projects.
The Forest Service found that about 80 percent of the wildfire risk to communities is concentrated in less than 10 percent of “firesheds,” or areas where wildfires are likely to threaten communities and resources. These initial investments focus on firesheds of the highest risk, where projects are ready to begin or to expand.
In Colorado, $18.1 million of these initial funds will be used to treat up to 10,000 acres across the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests and the Pike-San Isabel National Forests. These two national forests are an important source of water for the Colorado Front Range, making it a critical landscape to reduce the likelihood, intensity, and size of wildfires.
Due to years of fire suppression, Colorado’s Front Range forests are unhealthy and lend themselves to intense wildfires. Reintroducing fire back into this fire-adapted ecosystem is vital to its long-term health and success of future fire management.
A 100,000-acre Arizona landscape known as 4FRI will receive $12 million in fiscal year 2022, Prescott in Arizona will get $11.1 million to treat 28,000 acres, and North Yuba in California will collect $6.8 million to work on 4,500 acres.
Another California landscape, the 8,500-acre Stanislaus, will get $21.8 million, an 18,000-acre treatment in Southwest Idaho will receive $17.4 million, and the Kootenai Complex in Montana will accept $3.6 million to treat 900 acres.
Enchanted Circle in New Mexico will receive $6.6 million for wildfire risk reduction efforts on 9,000 acres, $4.5 million will go toward treatments on 5,000 acres in Central Oregon, and the Central Washington Initiative will apply $24.6 million in federal funding to work on a 24,000-acre landscape.
The Forest Service’s 10-year strategy progresses communities through stages of readiness to increase their collaboration and support to build more resilient forests through implementation and beyond.