Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack announced his agency is expanding efforts to reduce the risk of wildfires in the western U.S. Funds will be invested to directly protect at-risk communities and critical infrastructure in 11 additional landscapes in Arizona, California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington.
“It’s no longer a matter of if a wildfire will threaten many western communities, it’s a matter of when,” Vilsack says. “This announcement means over $490 million will be used to restore national forests, including the restoration of resilient old-growth forest conditions.”
The Forest Service announced its original ten landscape project areas last year. Combined with the additional announcement this week, that represents a total USDA investment of $930 million across 45 million acres. The work spans 134 of the 250 highest-risk fire sheds identified in the Wildfire Crisis Strategy and will mitigate the wildfire risk for around 200 communities in the western United States.