CALIFORNIA—President Donald Trump signed an executive order on December 21 that will activate policies and procedures to protect people, land and communities from wildfires.
The report from the White House reads:
“Section 1. Policy. It is the policy of the United States to protect people, communities, and watersheds, and to promote healthy and resilient forests, range lands, and other Federal lands by actively managing them through partnerships with States, tribes, communities, non-profit organizations, and the private sector. For decades, dense trees and undergrowth have amassed in these lands, fueling catastrophic wildfires. These conditions, along with insect infestation, invasive species, disease, and drought, have weakened our forests, range lands, and other Federal lands, and have placed communities and homes at risk of damage from catastrophic wildfires.”
The order challenges the Secretary of Interior and Secretary of Agriculture to implement the new policies and procedures in their respective departments. The federal fire management policy for forests, range lands, and other federal lands are to be in agreement with shared priorities with other land managers, states, tribes, and other landowners to manage fire risks.
The project is to be coordinated through federal, state, tribal and local land management to coordinate and ensure to restore their landscapes and communities damaged by fire including the removal of hazardous fuels through active forest management to protect communities, critical infrastructure, and natural and cultural resources.
The Executive Order can be read in full at www.whitehouse.gov.
“Post-fire assessments show that reducing vegetation through hazardous fuel management and strategic forest health treatment is effective in reducing wildfire severity and loss. Actions must be taken across landscapes to priorities treatments in order to enhance fuel reduction and forest-restoration projects that protect life and property, and to benefit rural economies through encouraging utilization of the by-products of forest restoration,” states the order.
President Trump called on the Secretary of the Interior to review the 2019 “budget justifications” and give all due considerations to establish them.
-Treating 750,000 acres of Department of the Interior (DOI)-administered lands to reduce fuel loads;
-Treating 500,000 acres of DOI-administered lands to protect water quality and mitigate severe flooding and erosion risks arising from forest fires;
-Reducing vegetation and an increase of health treatments in part by the DOI’s offering 600 million board feet of timber from DOI administered lands.
-Maintaining public roads by providing better access for emergency services and restoration workers.