$500 Million boost to tackle wildfires

USAgNet - 02/21/2024

Today, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced a significant move by the Biden-Harris Administration, injecting nearly $500 million into the fight against the ongoing national wildfire crisis.

This funding, part of President Biden's Investing in America agenda, will bolster the USDA Forest Service's Wildfire Crisis Strategy. It aims to protect communities, critical infrastructure, and natural resources threatened by wildfires, intensified by climate change.

This latest investment elevates the total funding to a record $2.4 billion, courtesy of the Inflation Reduction Act and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. It also propels the Administration’s National Climate Resilience Framework, focusing on nationwide, community-driven resilience strategies.

A significant portion of the funds, $400 million, is directed towards the 21 designated priority landscapes as part of the ongoing efforts to mitigate wildfire risks.

An additional $100 million will kickstart the Collaborative Wildfire Risk Reduction Program, aiming to extend protective measures to high-risk areas beyond these landscapes. This initiative will focus on the Wildland-Urban Interface, where national forests and communities intersect, enhancing local capacity for wildfire risk reduction and forest health improvement projects.

The program signifies a concerted effort to protect communities, infrastructure, and water quality from the devastating impacts of wildfires. The USDA's initiative reflects a comprehensive approach to wildfire management, focusing on treatment, community protection, and infrastructure resilience.

With record achievements in hazardous fuels reduction and prescribed burning, the Forest Service, alongside partners and communities, continues to set new benchmarks in wildfire prevention and forest management.

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