Feds $930 million, Feds send $930 million to curb ‘crisis’ of US West wildfires. Complete information is given to you in this article so read this article.
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Feds send $930 million to curb ‘crisis’ of US West wildfires
The Biden administration is allocating $930 million to reduce wildfire risks in 10 western states by clearing trees and underbrush from national forests.
The Biden administration announced on Thursday that it is allocating $930 million towards reducing wildfire dangers in 10 western states by clearing trees and underbrush from national forests. This move comes as officials struggle to protect communities from destructive infernos made worse by climate change.
The U.S. Forest Service is implementing a strategy to prevent out-of-control fires that start on public lands from spreading to communities. However, in an interview with the Associated Press, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack acknowledged that the shortage of workers, a problem that other sectors of the economy are also facing, is impeding the agency’s wildfire efforts. This strategy is now entering its second year.
The U.S. Agriculture Secretary, Tom Vilsack, warned that budget cuts proposed by some Republicans, who control the U.S. House, could undermine the Democratic administration’s plans to lower wildfire risks across almost 80,000 square miles (200,000 square kilometers) of public and private lands over the next decade. He called the cuts “draconian.”
The work of reducing wildfire dangers is projected to cost up to $50 billion. To aid this effort, the climate and infrastructure bills combined, passed last year, have directed about $5 billion towards this effort.
“There’s one big ‘if,’ ” Vilsack said. “We need to have a good partner in Congress.”
According to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, fires on public lands will continue to pose a threat to the western states. Over the past decade, these fires have burned about 115,000 square miles (297,000 square kilometers), an area larger than Arizona, and destroyed around 80,000 houses, businesses and other structures. This information is supported by government statistics and the nonpartisan research group Headwaters Economics.
Of the 80,000 structures destroyed by wildfires on public lands in the past decade, almost 19,000 were lost in the 2018 Camp Fire that killed 85 people in Paradise, California.
“It’s not a matter of whether or not these forests will burn,” Vilsack said. “The crisis is upon us.”
The sites chosen for wildfire reduction efforts in 2023 include many in Southern California, home to 25 million people; the Klamath River Basin on the Oregon-California border; the San Carlos Apache Reservation lands in Arizona; and the Wasatch area in northern Utah, a popular tourist destination with seven ski resorts. Additional sites are located in Idaho, Oregon, Nevada, Washington, Colorado, New Mexico, and Montana.
The strategy is to remove many trees and other flammable materials from hotspots that make up a small portion of fire-prone areas but account for about 80% of the risk to communities. U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack stated that officials will aim to restore “old-growth forest conditions,” meaning fewer but larger trees that can withstand fires.
House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Bruce Westerman stated that he is pleased to see the Biden administration taking “long-overdue action” by streamlining forest management rules. However, he questioned why more money will be spent this year, even though new projects will cover fewer acres compared to last year, according to administration documents.
In a statement, House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Bruce Westerman, a Republican from Arkansas, criticized the Forest Service for “recklessly spending valuable taxpayer dollars with little to no accountability.”
A spokesperson for the U.S. Agriculture Secretary, Marissa Perry, stated that there are “no apples-to-apples comparisons” between costs among the different landscapes, as they differ in terrain, access and the state of the forest. Staffing and equipment issues also play a role, and these differences can make some areas more expensive and time-consuming to work on.
“We work to treat not only the most acreage we can, but where it makes the most difference with the resources available,” she said.
Critics argue that the administration is still too focused on preventing fires, which is a nearly impossible goal, with not enough money and resources allocated to protecting communities and individuals at risk, including the elderly and those with medical conditions or disabilities.
“Given the scale of how much needs to be done, we are just skimming the surface,” said Headwaters Economics researcher Kimiko Barrett. “Risks are increasing at a scale and magnitude that we haven’t seen historically. You’re seeing entire neighborhoods devastated.”
Vilsack said the projects announced so far will help reduce wildfire risk to around 200 communities in the western U.S.
Warming temperatures have dried out the region’s landscape and driven insect outbreaks that have killed millions of trees — ideal conditions for massive wildfires.
The impacts stretch across North America, with smoke plumes at the height of wildfire season in the U.S. and Canada sometimes causing unhealthy pollution thousands of miles away on the East Coast.
Last year’s work by the Forest Service included tree thinning and controlled burns across 5,000 square miles (13,000 square kilometers) of forest nationwide, Vilsack said.
“We’re very targeted in saying, ‘Here’s where we need to go to reduce the risk,’” Forest Service Deputy Chief Chris French told the AP.
But a key piece of the administration’s strategy — intentionally setting small fires to reduce the amount of vegetation available to burn in a major blaze — already has encountered problems: The program was suspended three months last spring after a devastating wildfire sparked by the federal government near Las Vegas, New Mexico, burned across more than 500 square miles (1,295 kilometers) in the southern reaches of the Rocky Mountains.
It was the state’s largest fire on record, and several hundred homes were destroyed. Experts have said the environmental damage will linger generations.
Congress has approved nearly $4 billion in assistance for the fire’s victims, including $1.5 billion in the massive spending bill passed last month.
“If you’re a community, you’re going to have to worry about not just nature’s fires, but the government’s fires, too,” said Andy Stahl, executive director of the advocacy group Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics. “New Mexico taught us that.”
FAQS – Feds $930 million
What is the goal of the wildfire reduction efforts?
The goal is to lower wildfire risks across almost 80,000 square miles (200,000 square kilometers) of public and private lands over the next decade by clearing trees and underbrush from national forests.
How much is the U.S. government allocating towards this effort?
The Biden administration has announced $930 million in funding towards reducing wildfire dangers in 10 western states.
What areas are targeted for spending in 2023?
The targeted areas for spending in 2023 include Southern California, the Klamath River Basin on the Oregon-California border, the San Carlos Apache Reservation lands in Arizona, the Wasatch area of northern Utah, and additional sites in Idaho, Oregon, Nevada, Washington, Colorado, New Mexico, and Montana.
What is the strategy for reducing wildfire risks?
The strategy is to remove many trees and other flammable materials from hotspots that make up a small portion of fire-prone areas but account for about 80% of the risk to communities, and to restore “old-growth forest conditions” meaning fewer but larger trees that can withstand fires.
Are there any criticisms of the administration’s wildfire reduction efforts?
Some have criticized the administration for being overly focused on stopping fires, which is a nearly impossible goal, with not enough resources allocated to protecting communities and individuals at risk, including the elderly and those with medical conditions or disabilities.
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