Agency personnel and critical assets are poised to respond to wildfires across the country
Date: August 23, 2019
WASHINGTON - With peak wildfire activity predicted in the coming months, the Department of the Interior (DOI) has been working tirelessly to implement preventative measures to limit the size and scope of wildfires, treat current wildfires already underway, and protect wildfire-prone areas to best safeguard people and their communities.
“As stewards of one-fifth of the country’s public lands, primarily in the West, we know that our ability to be prepared for wildfires and reduce their severity is paramount to protecting communities and saving lives,” said U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt. “In collaboration with local, state, and other federal partners, we are using everything in our arsenal to prepare for wildfires this year, treating more than one million acres.”
The Trump Administration has prioritized active management of the nation’s public lands as provided in the President’s Executive Order 13855 and Secretary’s Order 3372, which establish a meaningful and coordinated framework for ensuring the protection of people, communities, and natural resources. Implementation of both Orders is a priority for reducing the risks of deadly and destructive wildfires…read the full release with state specific activities here.
Virginia – WSLS 10 News (NBC): “With peak wildfire activity coming soon, Virginia is one of multiple states the Department of the Interior is working with to start treatments. They would limit the size of wildfires, treat current wildfires and protect wild fire prone areas. In Virginia, more than 11,000 acres of land will be treated. Due to a cool, wet spring season, wildfire activity has been below normal this year, with just over 27,000 wildfires burning just over three million acres.”
Alaska – K ATH-TV & KTUU-TV (NBC): “It's peak wildfire season all across the nation. The Department of the Interior is working to prepare for wildfires before they devastate natural resources. Here in Alaska, more than 43,000 acres of land will be treated by creating fuel breaks. Already this year, the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, two Native corporations and the Kenai Peninsula borough have implemented 90 acres of fuel management practices.”
North Dakota/Minnesota – WZFG 1100 AM: “…the Department of the Interior (DOI) has been working tirelessly to implement preventative measures to limit the size and scope of wildfires, treat current wildfires already underway, and protect wildfire-prone areas to best safeguard people and their communities. In Minnesota, more than 42,000 acres of land will be treated, primarily from the Red Lake Helitack crew from the Red Lake Reservation in northern Minnesota. They completed a 41,000 acre project to reduce wildfire risk and improve forest conditions. The aviation crew flew for eight hours in coordination with ground support using prescribed burns to remove the grassy understory and replenish the forest.”
Colorado – KCFR 90.1 FM: “The Department of the Interior is currently working to prepare for wildfire season. The Trump administration issued orders to reduce the risks and damages of wildfires, primarily in the West. Some plans include bulldozing potential fuel for fires, prescribed burns, and more specialized equipment. More than 27000 acres in Colorado will be part of the wildfire prevention plans.”
E&E Climate Wire: “The Interior Department says it's ‘nearing completion’ on 1.2 million acres of fuel treatments as forecasters predict that wildfire conditions will worsen.”
Oregon – Tillamook Headlight Herald: “As DOI continues to evaluate innovative ways to best limit the destruction of wildfires in the future, it is nearing completion of more than 2,500 wildfire risk-reduction projects on more than 1.2 million acres of DOI and tribally-administered lands in some of the most fire-prone areas of the country.”
Montana – Char-Koosta News: “In Montana, nearly 85,000 acres of land will be treated. Thus far this year, FWS and BLM worked with the state of Montana and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s U.S. Forest Service to reduce fire risk by removing trees and clearing brush. The project near the Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge reduces the risk of catastrophic fires from spreading to local communities. All timber was harvested and supported local economies.”
New Mexico – Los Alamos Daily Post: “As wildfire activity likely increases, DOI, in collaboration with local, state, and federal partners, is moving wildfire suppression resources to the most susceptible areas around the country. At the center of this coordination is the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC), which coordinates eight different agencies and organizations’ emergency management responses.”
Utah – KSL: “The U.S. Department of Interior is stepping up its efforts to ward off catastrophic wildfires in the wake of last summer’s unprecedented season… In Utah, more than 134,000 acres fall under the umbrella of treatment, with 75,000 acres treated so far.”
Virginia – Augusta Free Press: “In Virginia, more than 11,000 acres of land will be treated [by the Department of the Interior]. Thus far this year, the NPS has completed a prescribed burn in Manassas National Battlefield Park. The prescribed burn helps to reduce the risk of wildfires and improves the habitat for wildlife.
Utah – The Independent: “In Utah, more than 134,000 acres of land will be treated…Since 2001, BLM Utah has accomplished over 1.1 million acres of fuels treatments. In 2018, it completed 115,233 acres of fuels projects. These fuels treatments have benefited all three tenets of the National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy: providing for more resilient and resistant landscapes; protecting Fire Adapted Communities; and improving the safe and effective wildfire response within Utah, along with benefits to various other resource management programs.”
California – Kern Valley Sun: “DOI to Treat 30,000 Acres in California, 1.2 Million Across U.S. this Wildfire Season…”
Colorado – CPR News: “Meanwhile, the Department of the Interior is working with the Bureau of Land Management and other federal agencies to prepare for the 2020 fire season…In Colorado, more than 27,000 acres will be part of the wildfire prevention plans.”
California - Sierra Sun Times: “With peak wildfire activity predicted in the coming months, the Department of the Interior (DOI) has been working tirelessly to implement preventative measures to limit the size and scope of wildfires, treat current wildfires already underway, and protect wildfire-prone areas to best safeguard people and their communities… More than 30,000 acres of land will be treated in California.”