President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law invests billions to address wildfires and protect communities
Date: Monday, April 4, 2022
WASHINGTON — President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provides $1.5 billion to the Department of the Interior’s Wildland Fire Management Program to address wildfire risk and prepare communities and ecosystems against the threat of wildfire by making historic investments in forest restoration, hazardous fuels management and post-wildfire restoration. Today, the Department released a roadmap for achieving these objectives in coordination with federal, non-federal and Tribal partners. This roadmap follows the release of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service 10-Year Wildfire Crisis Strategy. Taken together, these plans outline the monitoring, maintenance, and treatment strategy the agencies will use to address wildfire risk, better serve communities, and improve conditions on all types of lands where wildfires can occur.
Through the historic investments provided in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, these plans will facilitate a collaborative, multijurisdictional approach to reducing wildfire risk over broad landscapes. This will reduce the trajectory of wildfire risk to communities and natural resources.
“Wildland fire management simply isn’t possible without the interagency, all-hands approach made possible by multilevel partnerships across the country,” said Office of Wildland Fire Director Jeff Rupert. “With new funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to bolster these efforts, we are able to better coordinate with stakeholders and partners to reduce wildfire risk to help save lives, businesses and communities.”
The overall strategy identified by the Interior and Agriculture Departments builds on the National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy’s vision of safely and effectively extinguishing fire, when needed; using fire where allowable; managing natural resources; and, as a nation, living with wildland fire. Director Rupert will testify on the Interior’s Department’s work to address wildland fire tomorrow in front of the House Natural Resources Committee. The hearing will be streamed beginning at 10:00 AM ET on the Committee’s YouTube channel.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service 10-Year Wildfire Crisis Strategy focuses on treatment of up to 20 million acres of National Forest System lands, while Interior’s Five-Year Plan emphasizes fire prone Interior and Tribal lands, including rangelands and other vegetative ecosystems that pose serious fire risks. Approximately 7.1 million acres of land administered by the Interior Department have been identified as having a very high or high likelihood of exposure to wildfires.
Climate change continues to drive the devastating intersection of extreme heat, drought and wildland fire danger across the United States, creating wildfires that move with a speed and intensity previously unseen. Funding provided by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law supports the Interior Department’s ongoing efforts to invest in the science and research that is needed to better understand the impacts of climate changes on wildland fire in order to better safeguard people, communities and resources.