Trends, impacts, and cost of catastrophic and frequent wildfires in the sagebrush biome

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More frequent, larger, and severe wildfires necessitate greater resources for fire-prevention, fire-suppression, and postfire restoration activities, while decreasing critical ecosystem services, economic and recreational opportunities, and cultural traditions. Increased flexibility and better prioritization of management activities based on ecological needs, including commitment to long-term prefire and postfire management, are needed to achieve notable reductions in uncharacteristic wildfire activity and associated negative impacts. Collaboration and partnerships across jurisdictional boundaries, agencies, and disciplines can improve consistency in sagebrush-management approaches and thereby contribute to this effort. Here, we provide a synthesis on sagebrush wildfire trends and the impacts of uncharacteristic fire regimes on sagebrush plant communities, dependent wildlife species, fire-suppression costs, and ecosystem services. We also provide an overview of wildland fire coordination efforts among federal, state, and tribal entities.

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