Fire Policy

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U.S. federal fire and forest policy: Emphasizing resilience in dry forests

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This report makes the case that forest restoration should be at least equal to other land management priorities because large-scale restoration is necessary for the sake of forest ecosystem integrity now and into the future. Another proposal is to switch the “default” rule in federal planning documents that currently have to “justify” managed wildland fire; instead, U.S. federal agencies should be required to disclose the long-term ecological impacts of continued fire suppression.

 

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U.S. wildfire governance as social-ecological problem

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This synthesis examines the fundamental spatial and temporal disconnects between the specific policies that have been crafted to address our wildfire challenges. The biophysical changes in fuels, wildfire behavior, and climate have created a new set of conditions for which our wildfire governance system is poorly suited to address. To address these challenges, a reorientation of goals is needed to focus on creating an anticipatory wildfire governance system focused on social and ecological resilience. Key characteristics of this system could include the following: (1) not taking historical patterns as givens; (2) identifying future social and ecological thresholds of concern; (3) embracing diversity/heterogeneity as principles in ecological and social responses; and (4) incorporating learning among different scales of actors to create a scaffolded learning system.

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Secretarial Order 3336 – The final report: an integrated rangeland fire management strategy

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This final report includes actions to be implemented by Interior’s bureaus to immediately address the threat of rangeland fire and other disturbances to Western sagebrush-steppe landscapes and improve fire and fuels management efforts.

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Secretarial Order 3336 – The initial report: A strategic plan for addressing rangeland fire prevention, management, and restoration in 2015

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The initial report includes actions to be implemented by Interior’s bureaus to immediately address the threat of rangeland fire to Western sagebrush-steppe landscapes and improve fire management efforts before the start of the 2015 wildfire season.

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Secretarial Order 3336 – Rangeland fire prevention, management, and restoration

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This Order sets forth enhanced policies and strategies for preventing and
suppressing rangeland fire and for restoring sagebrush landscapes impacted by fire across the West. These actions are essential for conserving habitat for the greater sage-grouse as well as other
wildlife species and economic activity, such as ranching and recreation, associated with the sagebrush-steppe ecosystem in the Great Basin region.

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The National Strategy: The final phase of the development of the National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy

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This is the final national report of the three-phased National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy development. The National Strategy includes a set of guidelines intended to provide basic direction when planning activities. Broadly defined to address national challenges, these guidelines can be tailored to meet local and regional needs

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Fire and fuels management contributions to sage-grouse conservation: A status report

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This report, developed by the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA), Wildfire and Invasive Species Initiative Working Group (Working Group), summarizes the current state of Fire Operations and Fuels management functions in big sagebrush communities. The intent of this report is to illustrate the type and responsiveness of efforts being made. Finally, the report concludes by presenting future options and a series of recommendations that may inform future policy and allocation decisions.

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Perverse incentives: The case of wildfire smoke regulation

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This article argues that decisions regarding planned wildfire are marred by an anachronistic and inaccurate distinction between “natural” and “anthropogenic” fire. Rationalizing that unplanned wildfires are “natural,” the federal government excludes pollutants from such fires from air quality compliance calculations at the same time it encourages states to vigorously control pollutants from “anthropogenic,” prescribed fires. The result contributes to an undervaluation of necessary, planned wildfire. Several solutions are suggested to remove these distortions, including adopting a default rule whereby all wildfire smoke, of whatever origin, “counts” for purposes of air quality compliance.

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National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy

Visit the National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy website.

See also the National Cohesive Strategy’s Western Region website.

The National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy is a strategic push to work collaboratively among all stakeholders and across all landscapes, using best science, to make meaningful progress towards the three goals:

  1. Resilient Landscapes
  2. Fire Adapted Communities
  3. Safe and Effective Wildfire Response

Vision: To safely and effectively extinguish fire when needed; use fire where allowable; manage our natural resources; and as a nation, to live with wildland fire.

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Fuels and fire behavior dynamics in bark beetle-attacked forests in western North America and implications for fire management

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This paper reviews the nature and characteristics of bark beetle-altered fuel complexes in the conifer forests of the Interior West and the challenges of understanding the effects on extreme fire behavior, including the initiation and spread of crown fires. We also discuss how emerging fire management plans in the U.S. have begun to integrate wildfire management and other forest health objectives with the specific goal of achieving biodiversity and ecosystem resiliency while simultaneously reducing the existence of hazardous fuel complexes.

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