USDA Forest Service Announces Major Investments To Reduce CA Wildfire Risk

USDA Forest Service Announces Major Investments To Reduce CA Wildfire Risk


New funds offer “big shot in the arm” for Task Force efforts.

In an expanded effort to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire through the Forest Service’s Wildfire Crisis Strategy, USDA Forest Service announced an investment of more than $490 million to protect communities, critical infrastructure, and forest resources across the western U.S.

Made possible through President Biden’s landmark Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) and the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), the funds will directly protect vulnerable landscapes in Arizona, California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Washington. Combined with initial landscape investments, the additional efforts announced today represent a total USDA investment of $930 million across 45 million acres, mitigating risk to approximately 200 communities.

Here in California, the funds will go towards a wide range of vital projects that fall under the Wildfire and Forest Resilience Task Force Action Plan, with particular focus on historically underserved communities and tribes.

This funding is a big shot in the arm. Combined with billions in state funding from Governor Newsom and our Legislature, this federal investment will translate into projects that protect our communities and restore the health of our natural landscapes. While catastrophic wildfire remains, threats remain high across the West, we’re making good progress with our federal partners here in California building resilience to wildfire.”

 – Wade Crowfoot, California Natural Resources Secretary

The following California landscapes were selected for increased funding:

  1. Southern California Fireshed Risk Reduction Strategy (4M acres): The immense values at risk in southern California and the collaborative solutions underway for vegetation management represent investment opportunities to avoid staggering social, economic, and ecological costs.
  2. Trinity Forest Health and Fire Resilient Rural Communities (910K acres): California’s northern forests are naturally adapted to low-intensity fire. The health and well-being of California communities and ecosystems depend on urgent and effective forest and rangeland stewardship to restore resilient and diverse ecosystems. Numerous roads through the area serve as critical ingress/egress routes for local communities.
  3. Klamath River Basin (OR + CA – 10M acres) The Forest Service manages about 55 percent of the 10-million-acre Klamath Basin. These lands generate 80 percent of the mean annual surface water supply to the Klamath River. The area provides important habitat for fish listed under the Endangered Species Act.
  4. Plumas Community Protection (285K acres): The Plumas Community Protection Projects Landscape focuses on community zones across the Plumas National Forest with very high, high, or moderate wildfire hazard potential.
  5. Sierra and Elko Fronts (Nevada, California – 3.4M acres): This Intermountain Region project totals 3.4 million acres and encompasses landscapes in two states. These two projects together demonstrate the comprehensive landscape treatment goal of USDA’s Wildfire Crisis Strategy.

“Restoring natural forest health and diversity with thoughtful, science-based fuels treatments is critical for the future of California communities and natural resources. With our partners, we are dramatically increasing the scope and pace of fuels reduction projects in landscapes across the state.”

– Kara Chadwick, Deputy Regional Forester with the Pacific Southwest Region

This announcement comes on the anniversary of the launch of the Forest Service’s Wildfire Crisis Strategy, which combines an historic investment from congressional funding with years of scientific research and planning into a national effort that will dramatically increase the scale of forest health treatments.


USFS Updates

USFS Updates


Two important updates were released from the USFS in November. One from the Pacific Southwest Regional Office about reducing threat to homes in wildland urban interfaces and another from the Tahoe National Forest that addresses forest thinning along the North Yuba River Watershed. 

Growing Wildland Communities and Reducing Wildfire ThreatProtecting the North Yuba landscape with thousands of forest acres thinned and restored in California

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UCANR Publishes Report on Small Forest Landowners  

UCANR Publishes Report on California’s Small Forest Landowners  


Representing 22% of California’s timberland, private owners of forested lands play an important role in landscape resilience and reducing wildfire risk. And yet, they remain one of the most challenging groups to reach with consistent messaging and education on how to manage and protect their forests. 

A new report, recently released by the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources (UCANR) provides important learning about forest landowners, their goals, the actions they have taken to date, and the obstacles they face in effectively managing their land.

The report is a compilation of information gathered from forest landowners participating in the Forest Stewardship Education Initiative, a landowner educational effort launched by UCANR and funded by CAL FIRE. The initiative helps landowners better understand, manage and protect their forests by developing a management plan, implementing vegetation management projects, engaging with natural resource professionals, and taking advantage of cost-share opportunities that can help them meet their management goals. 

This report represents an important step in meeting the needs of forest landowners, and it implements a recommendation by the Small Landowner Assistance Working Group of the California Wildfire and Forest Resilience Task Force.

Read the Report

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Private Landowner Assistance

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Forest Stewardship Workshops

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California Reforestation Pipeline Partnership Aims to Address Key Reforestation Challenges

California Reforestation Pipeline Partnership Aims to Address Key Reforestation Challenges


The California Reforestation Pipeline Partnership (RPP) is a strategic collaboration to help address challenges related to the scale of post-burn reforestation opportunities on public and private lands between the U.S. Forest Service Region 5, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) and the non-profit conservation organization American Forests.

The RPP Cooperative is a new effort of the RPP to increase public-private cooperation on the supply chain that enables reforestation, and is set to kickoff Friday, November 4 in Sacramento with a gathering of top land management officials and forestry professionals.

The need for the RPP emerged from Governor Gavin Newsom’s California Wildfire and Forests Resilience Task Force Reforestation Strategy Working Group, and through a national study, “Challenges to the Reforestation Pipeline in the United States,” which uncovered knowledge and structural gaps that need to be resolved in order to implement solutions at scale across public and private lands.

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Read the Study

The 2021 Caldor Fire: One Year Later Video Series

The 2021 Caldor Fire: One Year Later Video Series


October 21, 2022, marks exactly one year since the Caldor Fire was completely contained.

Over the last year and with months of research and collaboration, the Eldorado National Forest released a four-part series examining the Caldor Fire. This series reviews the suppression efforts that took place, the fire behavior challenging firefighters, the road to rehabilitation and restoration, and what is being done now to lower the future risk of fire to communities.

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Episode 1: Initial response and experiences of firefighters who not only worked but also lived in the area

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Episode 2: How fire behavior and fuel conditions made for a challenging fire fight

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Episode 3: What restoration and rehabilitation work has occurred and its importance

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Episode 4: What is being done to reduce extreme wildfire behavior

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Private Landowner Assistance Work Group | September 2022 Action Item Updates

Private Landowner Assistance Work Group | September 2022 Action Item Updates 


Progress is being made on key Action Items from the Private Landowner Assistance Work Group’s Implementation Strategy. Read the update (link below) for a report on a few emerging EFRTS, NRCS‐CA new forestry technical and financial assistance agreements with partners, and UC Extension Stewardship Workshops.

Read the Update

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Mountain

Expert Roundtable on Wildfire and Forest Resilience

Mountain

Expert Roundtable on Wildfire and Forest Resilience


Exacerbated by climate change, the increasing frequency and scale of wildfires have devastated communities and ecosystems around the world, while releasing vast quantities of carbon into the atmosphere.

In the face of these accelerating challenges, calls for climate-smart management of natural lands have grown louder among policymakers, experts, and stakeholders. Government and civil society programs have begun investing in forest resilience and nature-based solutions to deliver on mitigation and adaptation goals, working with Indigenous partners whose knowledge and experience are vital.

Recognizing the need to bring together interdisciplinary, international coalitions to advance wildfire prevention, mitigation, and response, Prime Minister Trudeau and Governor Newsom committed their respective governments to hosting a roundtable on wildfire and forest resilience within their broader Climate Action and Nature Protection Partnership which they announced in June. By bringing together officials, academics, industry and civil society at UN Climate Week, this event delivers on that vision. By convening thought leaders to discuss our collective challenges, Canada and California hope to discuss collective challenges and chart next steps.

Watch the Video

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US Forest Service Response

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Governor Newsom’s Recap of Climate Week 2022

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USFS Will Resume its Prescribed Fire Program

USDA Forest Service Chief Randy Moore Announces Actions the USFS Will Take to Resume its Prescribed Fire Program


Update on USFS’ Prescribed Fire Pause. In a statement announced on September 8, USFS Chief Randy Moore has decided – based on a thorough review, findings, and recommendations provided by its National Review Team – to conditionally resume the USFS’s prescribed fire program nationwide. The conditions include a requirement that all USFS units immediately follow all seven tactical recommendations identified in the National Prescribed Fire Program Review. These actions will ensure prescribed fire plans are up to date with the most recent science, that key factors and conditions are closely evaluated the day of a prescribed burn, and that decisionmakers are engaged in those burns in real time to determine whether a prescribed burn should be implemented.

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Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center

2022 Program Review

U.S. Forest Service Announcement

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Post Fire Restoration Symposium

Post Fire Restoration Symposium


This virtual symposium focused on how monitoring and research in the southern Sierra Nevada can support post fire restoration planning and help to inform adaptive management. Topics included treatment effects on wildlife, variable density treatments in plantations, hardwood management, aquatics and meadow restoration. Panel discussions provided the opportunity for collaboration on the implications of the work and how to apply this knowledge to future post fire management. The virtual symposium was held and recorded on July 14, 2022.

Presented by: USDA Forest Service Ecology Program, ACCG, SOFAR, and hosted by the California Fire Science Consortium

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Symposium Recording

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Biden Signs Inflation Reduction Act Affecting Health, Climate and the Economy

Biden Signs Inflation Reduction Act Affecting Health, Climate and the Economy


Biden Signs Inflation Reduction Act Affecting Health, Climate and the Economy. On August 16, President Biden signed a landmark climate change and health care bill into law. The Act includes the most substantial federal investment in history to fight climate change — some $375 billion over the decade, and significant investments in wildfire and forest resilience including:

Wildfire Resilience and Ecosystem Restoration

  • $1.8 billion for hazardous fuels reduction projects on National Forest System land within the wildland-urban interface.
  • $200 million for vegetation management projects on National Forest System land.
  • $250 million for conservation, ecosystem, and habitat restoration projects on National Park Service and Bureau of Land Management lands.

Climate-Smart Forestry for Non-Federal Forest Landowners

  • $450 million for grants to support climate mitigation, forest resilience, and carbon sequestration and storage practices.

Urban and Community Forests

  • $1.5 billion for competitive grants to cities, tribal nations, nonprofits, and other eligible entities.

Forest Conservation

  • $700 million for competitive grants through the Forest Legacy Program.

Forest Products and Innovation

  • $100 million for grants under the Wood Innovation Grant Program.

Learn More

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