Investing in America's wildfire defense

Feb 21, 2024


The Biden-Harris Administration, through Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, has unveiled a nearly $500 million funding initiative aimed at curbing the wildfire crisis threatening the United States.  

This funding is a component of President Biden's broader Investing in America agenda, which seeks to reinforce the USDA Forest Service's strategy for mitigating wildfire risks. It aims to shield communities, vital infrastructure, and natural landscapes from wildfires, which are becoming more frequent and severe due to climate change. 

This funding increase brings the total allocation to an unprecedented $2.4 billion, supported by the Inflation Reduction Act and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. This move aligns with the Administration's goal to enhance national climate resilience through comprehensive and community-focused strategies. 

Out of this new funding, $400 million is earmarked for existing efforts across 21 critical landscapes, with an overall investment reaching $1.6 billion. The remainder, $100 million, will initiate the Collaborative Wildfire Risk Reduction Program, designed to extend wildfire prevention efforts to high-risk areas beyond the initial landscapes.  

This innovative program will concentrate on the Wildland-Urban Interface, facilitating projects that reduce wildfire risk and promote forest health in collaboration with Tribes, communities, and various partners. 

This strategic investment aims to fortify the nation's defense against wildfires, focusing on areas where the risk is most acute.  

By addressing the challenges posed by climate change head-on, the Administration is making significant strides towards safeguarding communities, infrastructure, and the environment from the catastrophic effects of wildfires. This effort also reflects the Administration's commitment to justice and equity, ensuring that the benefits of these investments reach disadvantaged communities.

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