By Christopher Martin, Connecticut State Forester and Chair of the Forest Science & Health Committee
In 2014, wildfires consumed 3,595,613 US acres at a taxpayer cost of $1,522,149,000. Heat, fuel and oxygen is the basic recipe to a fire start. Combine record breaking heat and historic drought with millions of acres of beetle-killed standing trees and you have a recipe for conflagration. Remove or reduce one of these ingredients and you greatly decrease the risk of uncontrolled wildfire.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) announced an expanded partnership designed to better protect America's working lands, predict and prevent natural disasters, and inspire young people to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and agriculture.
NASF Encourages Congress to Continue Dialogue about Federal Forest Management and Wildfire Funding
WASHINGTON—National Association of State Foresters (NASF) appreciates the steps taken by Rep. Bruce Westerman (AR-4) and his colleagues in the House of Representatives Thursday to pass Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2015 (H.R. 2647).
Jim Karels, National Association of State Foresters president and Florida State Forester, said today:
Implementation of the National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy (CS) has moved forward this spring with the formation of the National Strategic Committee (NSC), the establishment of three priorities, one for each of the three CS tenets by the Wildland Fire Leadership Council (WFLC), and ongoing work by the NSC and the three Regional Strategic Committee’s (RSC’s) to develop short and long term objectives for each WFLC priority.
Authorities in Alaska are reporting an unusually high number of wildfires burning simultaneously across the tundra and forests of the state, and an exceptionally large number of homes and buildings have been damaged or threatened by the flames so far this year.
Twenty-one Kentucky Division of Forestry (KDF) firefighters are on their way to Alaska to help fight wildfires. The request came in on Sunday through the Kentucky Inter-agency coordination Center of the Daniel Boone National Forest, which coordinates the mobilization of federal and state resources to areas throughout United States.
Sixteen full-time and five seasonal KDF firefighters left Monday afternoon from Tennessee and headed to Alaska where they were assigned to a fire.
The first major forest fire of the season has hit California, and it has been named the Lake Fire Wildfire. It began June 17, 2015, and has been spreading since then. The stats, as of 8 p.m. Saturday, say that approximately 16,000 acres have been burned with 500 structures threatened. Almost 2,000 personnel are assigned to the fire and it remains only 15 percent contained.
With the lack of rain, dry wood and dead leaves are proving to be potent fuel for Lake Fire.
Now at 9,000 acres, the Card Street fire on the Kenai Peninsula has been pegged as the number one fire priority in the nation.The fire continues pushing south and east, into the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. More than 800 structures in residential areas are still under threat and 11 have been destroyed.
Division of Forestry spokesperson Andy Alexandrou says more than 250 firefighters are on the scene. And with the number of fires going on across the state, resources are being stretched thin.
On June 17, NASF staff participated in the Wildfire Disaster Funding Act (WDFA) Advocacy Day in the House of Representatives. NASF joined allied organizations belonging to the Partner Caucus on Fire Suppression Funding Solutions, formed in 2009, to meet with nearly 70 House offices and seek their support for the WDFA (H.R. 167). In addition to NASF, partners including the Society of American Foresters, American Forests, American Forest Foundation, Western Governors Association, the Federal Forest Resource Coalition, and The Nature Conservancy were represented.
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