President Proposes $1 Billion for Department of the Interior Wildland Fire Management in Fiscal Year 2021

Last edited 06/07/2023
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Contact: Amy Krause (202) 606-3447,

WASHINGTON – Today, President Trump requested $1 billion in appropriations for the Department of the Interior (DOI) Wildland Fire Management program. The proposal for FY 2021 continues the strategic approach to wildland fire management established by the President two years ago that promotes active vegetation management of DOI lands to improve conditions and reduce wildfire risk. Through active forest and rangeland management, and by allowing wildfires to play their natural role when possible, DOI protects people and communities and promotes resilient landscapes. Building on DOI’s 2019 accomplishments, the budget proposes substantial resources for fuels management projects, and continues to support the Administration’s legislative proposals for much needed categorical exclusions from NEPA that support critical fuels management activity. Additionally, the budget calls for a $50 million investment for DOI’s Plan to Transform the Firefighting Workforce, an initiative to expand and improve DOI’s permanent Federal wildland fire workforce in the Fire Preparedness and Fuels Management programs, so the Department can provide wildfire response during peak periods and address active vegetation management during times of low fire activity.

“President Trump’s 2021 budget request for the Department is about investing in our people and public lands and waters," said Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt. "He is committed to the mission of conservation and creating more public access for Americans to fully enjoy our national treasures and landscapes. This budget is a critical step in the right direction and provides a path to restore commonsense in our budgeting process.”

“Managing wildfire risk has become a year-round challenge, and wildfires have become larger, costlier, and more complex,” said Jeff Rupert, Director of DOI’s Office of Wildland Fire. “To meet these challenges, and to continue our work reducing burnable vegetation on Federal and Tribal lands, we need to build a workforce that includes more permanent, full-time firefighters.”

The FY 2021 budget proposal also includes $383.7 million for the Suppression Operations program, consistent with the statutory requirements governing suppression resource availability. Last year, nearly 50,000 wildfires burned 4.6 million acres of Federal, Tribal, State, and private lands. Total Federal spending on suppression was $1.58 billion in FY2019; DOI’s portion of that expenditure was $440.7 million. An additional $310 million for suppression is allocated to DOI as its preliminary share of the Wildland Fire Cap Adjustment authorized in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018. Actual resource allocation between DOI and the U.S. Forest Service will ultimately depend on suppression needs in the event of a severe wildfire season.

The Fiscal Year 2021 budget funds the following activities:

Fire Preparedness: $368.1 million
The Preparedness program funds firefighting resources such as aviation assets, equipment, personnel, training, and the services and technology that enable firefighters to safely and effectively manage wildfires. As part of DOI’s Plan to Transform the Firefighting Workforce, the request for Preparedness includes a $28 million program increase over last year’s budget to enhance the Federal wildfire workforce, including increasing the number of permanent full-time positions through a combination of conversions of existing career seasonal and temporary term employees and new hires.  This will strengthen DOI’s ability to maintain its initial attack success rate and provide effective wildfire response throughout the year.

Fuels Management: $227.9 million
Fuels management promotes healthy communities and ecosystems by reducing the intensity, severity, and negative effects of wildfire. The request includes a $33.9 million increase over last year’s budget to fund fuel management work on 1.4 million acres and increase staffing, including increasing the number of permanent full-time positions through a combination of conversions of existing career seasonal and temporary term employees and new hires.  Of the total program increase, $22.0 million supports DOI’s Plan to Transform the Firefighting Workforce.

Burned Area Rehabilitation: $20.5 million
Rehabilitation projects restore and improve landscapes damaged by wildfire through seeding and the reduction or removal of noxious weeds. This request funds the treatment of approximately 700,000 acres on some of the most vulnerable and highest priority burned landscapes.

Joint Fire Science: $3.0 million
The Joint Fire Science program responds to the needs of the wildland fire community by competitively funding fire science research projects and science delivery to answer emerging questions and fill knowledge gaps on managing wildland fire, fuels, and fire-impacted ecosystems.

With this funding, DOI will continue meeting the objectives of Executive Order 13855 and Secretary’s Order 3372, which call for the active management of America’s forests and rangelands to reduce wildfire risk and set specific targets for actions. In 2019, DOI exceeded all targets directed under the Executive Order and completed the action items called for in the Secretary’s Order that are intended to help the Department better understand and address wildfire risk. 

DOI also remains committed to its Tribal trust responsibilities. The FY 2021 Budget proposal maintains $10 million to continue the Reserved Treaty Rights Land program that supports landscape restoration and the management of Tribal resources, primarily through collaborative fuels management projects. This program, coupled with other funding, is essential to the economic and ecological sustainability of Tribal lands and forests.


DOI's Wildland Fire Management Program seeks to safely and effectively respond to wildfires, promote fire-adapted communities, and create fire-resilient landscapes through collaboration with Federal, local, State, and Tribal partners. Learn more at

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