Wildland Fire Management
The Society of American Foresters’ (SAF) identifies four issues to be addressed in order to reduce average size and severity of wildfires and the resultant undesirable effects on our forests and society: (1) the pace and scale of land management activities, especially those related to hazardous fuels treatments, must be accelerated to restore fire-adapted forested landscapes; (2) fire management resources must be prepared and focused to respond quickly and safely to destructive fire events within the context that not all fires can or should be suppressed: (3) fire-adapted resilient communities should be actively promoted through cross-boundary coordination between individual homeowners, communities, and local, state, and federal landowner efforts; and (4) sufficient and stable state and federal firefighting budgets must be available to avoid disrupting other essential programs, especially wildfire preparedness activities.
Progress on these four issues will help achieve the vision of the National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy (2014) to:
Restore and Maintain Landscapes: Landscapes across all jurisdictions are resilient to fire-related disturbances in accordance with management objectives.
Fire-adapted Communities: Human populations and infra¬structure can withstand a wildfire without loss of life and property.
Wildfire Response: All jurisdictions participate in making and implementing safe, effective, and efficient risk-based wildfire management decisions.
Our nation’s forests and communities need land management and wildfire protection systems that are reliable, consistent, and cost effective while providing for public and firefighter safety. Fire plays an ecological role in nearly all forest and rangeland ecosystems, but the size and severity of wildfires that escape initial attack is increasing as is the impact on human communities. Those trends should be reversed.