Biden admin unveils plan to combat US wildfires

i24NEWS - Reuters

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Smoke from the Caldor Fire obscures the sun as it sets over the mountains near South Lake Tahoe of California, the United States, August 24, 2021.
AP Photo/Rich PedroncelliSmoke from the Caldor Fire obscures the sun as it sets over the mountains near South Lake Tahoe of California, the United States, August 24, 2021.

2020 was a record year regarding wildfires, with more than 10 million acres burned in the US

The United States President Joe Biden’s administration on Tuesday announced a 10-year plan to treat and maintain millions of acres of forests in the western US to reduce the severity of wildfires.

“We’re not going to stop fires,” US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said at a press conference.

“But what we can do is begin the process of reducing the catastrophic nature of those fires,” he said alongside Forest Service chief Randy Moore.

The “wildlife crisis strategy” will aim to make some 50 million acres of forests healthier and more resilient to fires through treatments such as thinning, pruning, and controlled burning, the report stated.

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Wildfires worsened in the US in recent years after decades of federal policy to immediately extinguish wildfires - instead of letting some burn in a contained fashion - leading to a higher buildup of flammable brush.

Climate change also led to hotter and drier seasons in the West region of the US, making fires more common and forestland more flammable.

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Under the new plan, the US Forest Service will treat up to 20 million additional acres of National Forest System land, and up to 30 million additional acres of other federal, state, tribal, and private land in the American West over the next decade.

Parts of Arizona, Colorado, Oregon, California, and Washington most at risk of wildfires will be of priority, the report noted.

2020 was a record year regarding wildfires, with more than 10 million acres burned in the US, about half of which was Forest Service land.

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