The Home of Adventure

Bear-Sig-01 1

Bear Grylls

After a Decade of Record Fires, New Wildfire Plan Promises Relief

On January 17, 2023, the Biden Administration announced a sweeping, multibillion-dollar wildfire plan that could bring much-needed relief to 11 wildfire-prone U.S. states.

Over the past 10 years, record-breaking wildfires have swept across the American West, destroying homes and beloved recreation areas alike. The toxic air quality has been especially difficult for millions of locals, and has impacted many states’ outdoor recreation industries. Many days are too smokey to go outside at all, let alone get the lungs pumping on a bike ride or run. Underserved communities and people who have to commute by foot or work outdoors to support their families have been particularly affected. 

Wildfire seasons have also been starting earlier and extending later into the year. In fact, some of the country’s most destructive recent fires have occurred in fall or winter – traditionally lower-risk seasons. In October of 2021, the Dixie Fire burned more than a million acres in California. That December, Colorado’s Marshall fire destroyed more than 500 homes. 

Image by Ashley Cooper

“This is a national emergency, and it calls for decisive action,” said the US Forest Service report that details the new plan.

The USFS hopes to confront the wildfire crisis via science-backed strategies like controlled burns and strategic thinning of vegetation. The report states that the USFS spent too many years operating under the notion that all fire was bad fire. Even small, healthy wildfires were put out, allowing excess flammable material to accumulate on the ground. According to the report, strategically removing this fuel buildup should reduce the risk of catastrophic fires

Of course, the buildup of on-the-ground fuels isn’t the only reason wildfire has gotten so out of hand. 

“In the West, climate change is making the fire and fuels problem worse by reducing snow and rainfall, and by increasing the frequency and scale of high winds and hot dry weather,” the report states. Wildfires exacerbate climate change by releasing tons of carbon into the air. Healthier forests should help protect the environment from future climate change by (A) taking in carbon from the air as they grow, and (B) naturally reducing the likelihood of large fires. 

Image by Puneet Vikram Singh, Nature and Concept Photographer

The new plan will be implemented in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, New Mexico, South Dakota, Utah, and Washington. The project’s funding will come in part from an expanded USFS wildlife budget, in part from federal dollars already allocated to wildfire mitigation, and in part from money allocated in the Biden Administration’s new $1 trillion infrastructure bill. 

It’s an ambitious plan, but if the USFS can pull it off, it could meaningfully change the future of the American West—and all the people who call it home.

Join the Conversation!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More Like This

More Stories

Great News: Ozone Layer is On Track to Heal Within 20 Years

The hole in the ozone layer, which shocked humanity when it was first discovered 40 years ago, is now on track to heal completely—and [...]

How Thick Should Ice Be to Safely Ice Fish?

While some ice anglers have hard-and-fast rules about how many inches thick the ice should be to make it safe to fish – the [...]

Daily Deals, Friday 01/27/2023

Check out our favorite deals of the day! SAMSUNG Galaxy Buds 2 – 37% off Up your workout game with new surround sound headphones.  [...]

New Arkansas Initiative Puts Outdoor Recreation Front and Center

On January 24, 2023, Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders signed an executive order launching the Natural State Initiative, a program designed to ramp up [...]

20 Best National and State Parks in Florida

Despite what a certain mouse might have you believe, Florida isn’t all about theme parks. The Sunshine State is packed from coast to coast [...]

This Weekend: New England Snow and Conditions Report

01/27/2023-01/29/2023 If you’re hitting the slopes this weekend, make sure you know where the pow is best! Vermont Bolton Valley Bromley Mountain Burke Mountain [...]

Scroll to Top