Roosevelt Arizona 9/28/19 US Forest Service flag a division of the US Agriculture Department

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.