Wildfires and Washington: How Congress Can Stop Catastrophe Before It Starts

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Opinion: Chairman Rob Bishop (R-Utah)

Charred landscapes, torched buildings and the loss of property and life. These are the consequences of massive wildfires. Most Americans in the Eastern United States aren’t acquainted with this type of destruction. However, these scenes are all too familiar for those of us who live in the West.  

Congress and the U.S. Forest Service have the opportunity now to stop catastrophic wildfires before they start. This is not some pie-in-the-sky hyperbole coming from Washington. It’s a realistic goal, achievable by using proven science to manage our country’s forests.  

Forest Service, wildland fire, Natural Resources, fire

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Northwest Forest Plan science synthesis released

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ARCATA, Calif. —The USDA Forest Service has released the Northwest Forest Plan science synthesis, a report that will serve as the scientific foundation for land management planning in northern California, western Oregon and western Washington.

One of the most significant findings of the Northwest Forest Plan science synthesis is that the plan has protected old-growth forests as habitat for important species. At the same time, the report found that restoration of fire and other active forest management activities at the landscape scales can promote ecological integrity and rebuild forest resilience to disturbance and stressors.

Forest Service, Forest Plan

Read more: Northwest Forest Plan science synthesis released

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National EADM Findings and Leverage Points Report Now Available

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This spring, the National Forest Foundation supported the Forest Service in convening and facilitating ten Regional EADM Partner Roundtables across the country, and produced a report from each of them to document input shared by partners. The NFF also pulled cross-cutting themes from the regional reports and summarized them into National Findings and Leverage Points.

In the national summary report, partner input was organized into nine themes and describe perceptions of the identified problems and leverage points for each. The report details many important leverage points that are worthy of attention, however here is a summary of the key takeaway messages:

Forest Service, partnerships

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Use of Fire in California to Increase

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Sierra Nevada Conservancy Announces New Partnership Focuses on Increased Use of Fire in California for Natural Resource and Public Benefits

May 10, 2018 - Sacramento, Calif. – Federal and State agency officials gathered today with conservation and community fire protection groups to kick off the inaugural workshop for a Memorandum of Understanding that will promote the careful and expanded use of fire for natural resource and other social benefits in California. Wildland fuels are continuing to build up and wildfires are growing larger and more difficult to control, especially in light of California’s extended drought experience and changing climate. These factors have helped bring this unique partnership together. Citing recent fire science and large, damaging wildfires like the Rim, King, Valley, and Butte fires, this new fire partnership is calling for an expanded response and a broader suite of tools to restore resilience and protect communities across California’s rural landscape.

prescribed fire, Wildfire

Read more: Use of Fire in California to Increase

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Top 50 Invasive Species in the West

The Western Governors’ Association list of the “Top 50 Invasive Species in the West” delivers the first-ever regional assessment of this environmental challenge.

The compilation of terrestrial and aquatic invasive species includes highly-publicized examples such as cheatgrass, quagga mussels, tamarisk and the Emerald Ash Borer. The list also encompasses less well known, but still impactful, examples such as leafy spurge, Red shiner, Russian knapweed and Golden algae. (Download the complete list)

Read more: Top 50 Invasive Species in the West

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