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Biden Administration Announces Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Wildfire Mitigation Investments in Colorado – USDA.gov

Secretaries Vilsack and Haaland Receive Joint Operational Wildfire Briefing from agency experts

LYONS, Colo., April 11, 2022 – As part of the Biden-Harris Administrations Rural Infrastructure Tour, Agriculture Secret…….

Secretaries Vilsack and Haaland Receive Joint Operational Wildfire Briefing from agency experts

LYONS, Colo., April 11, 2022 – As part of the Biden-Harris Administrations Rural Infrastructure Tour, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced $131 million in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law investments to begin work on the USDA Forest Service’s 10-year wildfire strategy: Confronting the Wildfire Crisis: A Strategy for Protecting Communities and Improving Resilience in America’s Forests. The initial investment in 10 landscapes (PDF, 9.4 MB) in Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, Montana, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona will lead to about 208,000 acres of wildfire risk reduction treatments.

To highlight the importance of the investments, USDA Forest Service Chief Randy Moore visited Heil Valley Ranch in Lyons, Colorado, with Interior Secretary Deb Halaand, Senators Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper and Representative Joe Neguse. Earlier in the day, Secretary Vilsack also virtually joined Governor Jared Polis, Secretary Haaland, Senators Bennet and Hickenlooper, and Representatives Neguse and Perlmutter to meet with federal wildland fire leadership for the annual Joint Operational Wildfire Briefing and to discuss local, state and federal wildland fire preparedness and response.

Since releasing its 10-year wildfire strategy earlier this year, the Forest Service and its partners have used the best available science to identify the highest risk landscapes for treatment projects. The Forest Service found that around 80% of the wildfire risk to communities is concentrated in less than 10% of “firesheds,” or areas where wildfires are likely to threaten communities and resources. These initial investments focus on firesheds of the highest risk, where projects are ready to begin or to expand.

“Thanks to the investments made in President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, USDA is taking the next step in reducing wildfire risk, especially in western states where communities, infrastructure and resources are at the most risk,” said Secretary Vilsack. “The people of Colorado need no reminding of the dire threat wildfire presents to states across the West. In 2020, Coloradans saw three of their largest fires on record. With the investments we’re announcing today, USDA will do its part to make your communities safer and our forests more resilient to our changing climate.”

“These efforts to reduce wildfire risk to communities located in these landscapes are just the beginning,” said Forest Service Chief Randy Moore. “The first-year investments are a part of a 10-year strategy to reduce the exposure of communities and infrastructure to the risk of catastrophic wildfire. With each successive year we will plan and implement more, continuing to reduce the risks associated with extreme wildfire for communities in these vulnerable areas.”

“Climate change continues to drive the devastating intersection of extreme heat, drought and wildland fire danger across the United States, creating wildfires that move with a speed …….

Source: https://www.usda.gov/media/press-releases/2022/04/11/biden-administration-announces-bipartisan-infrastructure-law

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