Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced Jan. 19 expanded efforts to reduce wildfire risk across the western U.S., directly affecting national forests in California, and in Plumas County.
The 11 projects selected for funding include the 285,000-acre Plumas National Forest’s Community Protection Project, which focuses on community zones across the Plumas National Forest with very high, high, or moderate wildfire hazard potential.
“The designation of the Plumas National Forest as a priority landscape, and the investment of resources to support community protection and wildfire risk reduction, is a huge milestone,” Carlton said. “It reflects the hard work of our team of employees and partners, including local and state governments, tribes, and key stakeholders to prepare for this opportunity. As our local communities know too well, the risks we face from increasing wildfire severity are real and catastrophic. We look forward to working together to accomplish meaningful work on the ground in response to the wildfire crisis we all face.”
More information regarding the Community Protection Project, including project goals, where it is in the process and opportunities for public involvement will be shared in the coming weeks.
Other California projects
“It is no longer a matter of if a wildfire will threaten many western communities in these landscapes, it is a matter of when,” said Secretary Vilsack. “The need to invest more and to move quickly is apparent. This is a crisis and President Biden is treating it as one. Today’s announcement will bring more than $490 million to 11 key landscapes across the western United States, and will be used to restore our national forests, including the restoration of resilient old-growth forest conditions.”
In addition to the Plumas project, the following landscapes were selected for increased funding in California:
- Southern California Fireshed Risk Reduction Strategy (California – 4M acres): The immense values at risk in southern California and the collaborative solutions underway for vegetation management represent investment opportunities to avoid staggering social, economic, and ecological costs.
- Trinity Forest Health and Fire Resilient Rural Communities (California – 910K acres): California’s northern forests are naturally adapted to low-intensity fire. The health and well-being of California communities and ecosystems depend on urgent and effective forest and rangeland stewardship to restore resilient and diverse ecosystems. Numerous roads through the area serve as critical ingress/egress routes for local communities.
- Klamath River Basin (Oregon, California – 10M acres) The Forest Service manages about 55 percent of the 10-million-acre Klamath Basin. These lands generate 80 percent of the mean annual surface water supply to the Klamath River. The area provides important habitat for fish listed under the Endangered Species Act.
- Sierra and Elko Fronts (Nevada, California – 3.4M acres): This Intermountain Region project includes work in California. The project totals 3.4 million acres and encompasses landscapes in two states. These two projects together demonstrate the comprehensive landscape treatment goal of the Wildfire Crisis Strategy.