SAF and Partners Share Priorities on Wildfire Policy

October 15, 2020

SAF and our allied partners recently shared a series of principles with policymakers outlining our priorities for forest health and resilience, climate change, and wildfire.

SAF CEO Terry Baker:

“This year’s fire season brought new light to the challenges communities, industries, and agencies must address related to a changing climate. As a group of forestry association executives, we pooled our collective expertise to put forward thoughtful and practical policy solutions to improve our ability to address wildfires through pre-emptive management in addition to increased fire suppression resources. I am proud that SAF sits at this table with a group of organizations informing solutions that can be implemented at local, regional, and national levels.”

Excerpt from the statement:

Severe wildfire is a reality we must address across all forest ownerships by embracing the science of modern forestry, prioritizing funding to match today’s fire realities, and anticipating needs so that we can recover quickly following a fire. Working together, we must prioritize:

  • Reducing wildfire risk. Many forests, particularly those on federal land and smaller family holdings, are overstocked – with increasing tree densities and a dangerous buildup of brush, dead trees and other vegetation. Fuels reduction is needed to ensure a healthy number of trees per acre, and to remove unhealthy, dead or dying trees and brush.

  • Protecting people and property. We need realistic approaches for wildfire management to meet the realities we are facing on the ground. Increased capacity to fight wildland fire in its early phases will help keep wildfires from becoming costly and uncontrollable public safety threats. Increased funding is needed to recruit, train and support wildland professionals.

  • Recovering quickly. We should seek to reestablish forests quickly across all ownerships following a fire. In areas where severe fire is a regular threat, we need to support reforestation, which protects the soil, restores damaged watersheds, and reestablishes critical habitat for wildlife.

We encourage SAF members to share this statement within their networks, particularly with their elected representatives.

Click here to download and share the statement.