News of the massive deadly fires in Australia aren't too far removed from recent headlines about the devastating fires in the western US including California and Washington.  Some point to climate change, others to poor land management practices resulting in an abundance of fuel for fires.

The Department of the Interior has taken notice and today announced it had nearly tripled goals set by President Trump for vegetative treatments intended to reduce wildfire risk last year. The announcement of the largest fuel load reduction in a decade.  comes as the land management agencies with wildland fire programs—the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service—report their end-of-year accomplishments and begin preparations for the next fire year.

A Department of Interior news release quoting Secretary David Bernhardt,  “These accomplishments reflect the Department’s commitment to the President’s goals for reducing wildfire risk and protecting our communities and resources....this is an issue that impacts the whole country, and we’re looking broadly at what we can do to reduce wildfire risk.”

Goals for 2020:

  • Reduced fuel loads on more than 1.4 million acres of DOI-administered lands, covering nearly two times more acres than required under the Executive Order;
  • Protected water quality on more than 1.4 million acres of DOI administers lands, nearly three times the acres required; and
  • Planned for harvest or offered for sale more than 750 million board feet of timber to reduce vegetation giving rise to wildfire conditions, exceeding the target by 25 percent.

For more information and a state-by-state breakdown of where these treatments occurred, please visit https://www.doi.gov/wildlandfire/state-state-accomplishments.