Wildfire risk in California no longer coupled to winter precipitation

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Wet winters no longer predict possible relief from severe wildfires for California, according to a new study from an international team that includes a University of Arizona scientist.

From 1600 to 1903, the position of the North Pacific jet stream over California was linked to the amount of winter precipitation and the severity of the subsequent wildfire season, the team found. Wet winters brought by the jet stream were followed by low wildfire activity, and dry winters were generally followed by higher wildfire activity. After 1904, the connection between winter moisture brought by the jet stream from December through February and the severity of the wildfire season weakened. The weakened connection between precipitation and wildfires corresponds to the onset of a fire suppression policy on U.S. federal lands, the team reports in the March 4 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

California, Wildfire, Climate Change

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Report: Biofuels Policy Backfires, Hurts Environment

monarch-bfSACRAMENTO,Calif. – A new report on the nation's Renewable Fuel Standard shows multiple ways the policy has had major unintended consequences for the environment. Researchers from University of California-Davis, Kansas State University and the University of Wisconsin found that promoting the biofuel ethanol drove up the prices of corn and soybeans – which led farmers to plant a lot more of those crops. 

David DeGennaro, agriculture policy specialist with the National Wildlife Federation, says that led to the conversion of 1.6 million new acres into farmland between 2009 and 2016.

Biomass, energy, bio-fuels, renewable energy

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Promoting Active Management of America's Forests, Rangelands, and Other Federal Lands To Improve Conditions and Reduce Wildfire Risk

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By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, it is hereby ordered as follows:

Section 1. Policy. It is the policy of the United States to protect people, communities, and watersheds, and to promote healthy and resilient forests, rangelands, and other Federal lands by actively managing them through partnerships with States, tribes, communities, non-profit organizations, and the private sector. For decades, dense trees and undergrowth have amassed in these lands, fueling catastrophic wildfires. These conditions, along with insect infestation, invasive species, disease, and drought, have weakened our forests, rangelands, and other Federal lands, and have placed communities and homes at risk of damage from catastrophic wildfires.

Wildfire, wildland fire, Executive Orders

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BLM taking proactive approach to reduce wildfire risks in California

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The Hazard Removal and Vegetation Management Project Programmatic Environmental Assessment streamlines vegetation management and removal of hazardous trees.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – In advancing the Department of the Interior’s commitment to reduce wildfire risk, the Bureau of Land Management on Friday released its Hazard Removal and Vegetation Management Project Programmatic Environmental Assessment (EA). This assessment covers approximately 551,000 acres of BLM-managed public land in central and northern California and streamlines the process for right-of-way holders, utility companies, and counties to treat vegetation and remove hazardous trees within 200 feet of critical infrastructure to reduce wildfire risk.

BLM, fire

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Interior Works with Partners to Improve 600,000 Acres of Sage-Grouse Habitat in Southwest Idaho

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Excellent example of collaboration between federal and local governments to protect and improve working landscape

WASHINGTON – In an effort to improve the habitat for Greater Sage-Grouse in the West, the U.S. Department of the Interior today issued a Record of Decision for the treatment of 617,000 acres of land in Owyhee County, Idaho. The decision is supported by the Bruneau-Owyhee Sage-Grouse Habitat (BOSH) Project Final Environmental Impact Statement, which analyzes the effects of removing encroaching Western juniper on approximately 617,000 acres of public land within a 1.67 million-acre area of sagebrush-steppe habitat in Owyhee County.

BLM, sage grouse

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