Wildland Fire Mitigation and Management Commission requests recommendations on wildland fire policy

Wildland fires are becoming more frequent, larger, and more intense, due to heat waves, droughts, and other environmental shifts driven by climate change. These fires impact vast and diverse geographical areas across the entire United States, ranging from public forest lands to utility corridors to the wildland-urban interface (WUI), where human structures and development meet or mix with undeveloped wildlands or vegetative fuels.

Wildland fires are a major public health and safety concern, impacting life safety, public and responder health, private property and businesses, the economy, and ecology. Response, mitigation, and prevention efforts for these fires are complex, requiring a multi-disciplinary, all-hands approach.

To adequately address the complexity of the wildland fire problem in the United States, a comprehensive look at national policy for wildland fire management and mitigation is required. This is the task of the Wildland Fire Mitigation and Management Commission, which was jointly established in Dec. 2021 by the Department of Agriculture (USDA), Department of the Interior (DOI) and the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

The Wildland Fire Mitigation and Management Commission is requesting your input in February and March to develop recommendations for congressional action on a variety of wildfire mitigation and management topics. These recommendations will influence the formation of national policy related to:

  • The prevention, mitigation, suppression, and management of wildland fires.
  • The rehabilitation of land devastated by wildfires.
  • A strategy to meet aerial firefighting equipment needs through 2030 in the most cost-effective manner.

The Commission held its first meeting on Sept. 14-15, 2022, in Salt Lake City, Utah, and established topical workgroups for the full suite of issues it was tasked to address in the Wildland Fire Mitigation and Management Commission Act of 2021, which became law on Nov. 15, 2021, as part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

The Commission has scheduled topical workgroup meetings throughout February and March. The Commission is requesting that any recommendations pertaining to the topic of an upcoming meeting be submitted prior to that meeting so that workgroups will have time to consider the recommendations and decide whether to advance them to the full Commission and ultimately to the U.S. Congress.

If you are interested in submitting recommendations, see the USDA’s website for more information on the Commission, its federal statute, upcoming meeting topics and dates, and submittal instructions.

If you have questions or would like more information, please contact the Wildland Fire Mitigation and Management Commission at wildfirecommission@usda.gov.

(Sources: USDA, FEMA, USFA)

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