Home > blog > Page
National Preparedness for Wildfires Moved to Highest Level
Widespread Catastrophic Wildfires Prompt Federal Government to Raise Level
Posted by Mallory Micetich on August 23, 2013
This week the National Multi-Agency Coordinating Group raised the National Preparedness Level to 5, its highest level indicating high fire activity with increasing threats. The last time the National Preparedness Level was raised to 5 was July 1, 2008 and remained at this highest level for 22 days.  A raised preparedness level indicates a high degree of wildfire activity, a major commitment of fire resources and the probability that severe conditions will continue for at least a few days.

This announcement comes as news outlets across the country report that the federal government is running out of funds to fight wildfires.   

"As the cost of fighting fires keeps rising, the effort is diverting funds from other forest management programs designed to reduce fire risk. And experts say the economic damage is being vastly underestimated in the initial headline numbers for the fires raging through an area out West that is the size of Rhode Island." John Schoen, "Cost of Western blazes spreads like wildfire" NBC News

"The nation's top wildfire-fighting agency was down to $50 million after spending $967 million so far this year, Forest Service spokesman Larry Chambers said Wednesday in an email. Chambers says the $50 million the Forest Service has left is typically enough to pay for just a few days of fighting fires when the nation is at its top wildfire preparedness level, which went into effect Tuesday. There are 51 large uncontained fires burning across the nation, making it tough to meet demands for fire crews and equipment."  AP, "Feds running out of money to fight wildfires"

While this year’s fire season has so far seen only 60% of the 10-year average of acres burned, a significant amount of wildfire activity, is currently occurring in several parts of the Western United States. Despite the progress of first responders, firefighters, National Guard and Department of Defense much can still be done to prevent damaging wildfires. 

It is possible to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire through proactive, healthy forest management and reduction of hazardous fuels. Unnatural, overgrown and unhealthy forests increase the risk of wildfire. Active forest management helps protect and restore forests.

Last year, wildfires burned 9.3 million acres, while the U.S. Forest Service only harvested approximately 200,000 acres. This means that 44 times as many acres burned as were responsibility harvested. The burned areas were not allowed to be salvaged.

To learn more about wildfires and committee action click here.

    Post a Comment
    Fill out the fields below to submit a comment

    Latest News

    Bishop Statement on Coal Secretarial Order

    Today, the Department of the Interior (DOI) Secretary Ryan Zinke issued a Secretarial Order to formally end the coal leasing moratorium and reinstate the royalty advisory committee. House Committee on...... Read more

    ESA Consultation Delays Block Critical Infrastructure Projects, Imperil Species Recovery Efforts

    Today, the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations held an oversight hearing on delays and uncertainty related to Endangered Species Act (ESA) consultations. Subcommittee Chairman Raúl Labrador (...... Read more

    Bishop Statement on President Trump’s Executive Order on Energy Independence

    House Committee on Natural Resources Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT) issued the following statement in reaction to President Trump’s most recent executive order related to domestic energy production: “This...... Read more

    View All News

    Calendar

    Legislative Hearing on H.R. 220, H.R. 1411 and Discussion Draft of the "Bureau of Reclamation Pumped Storage Hydropower Development Act"
    Subcommittee on Water, Power and Oceans | 1324 Longworth House Office Building Washington D.C. 20515
    Legislative Hearing on the RECLAIM Act
    Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources | 1324 Longworth House Office Building Washington D.C. 20515
    Legislative Hearing on Four Bills
    Subcommittee on Federal Lands | 1324 Longworth House Office Building Washington D.C. 20515
    View All Events