The National Fire Plan

Wildland Fire Season-2002 may go into the history books as being one of the worst wildland fire seasons on record.

Hazardous Fuels Reduction:
The hazardous fuels program reduces the impact of unwanted wild land fires on communities, natural resources, and cultural resources. Past disruptions of natural fire cycles (fires caused by lightning) as well as by other management practices, have resulted in wildfires of increasing intensity and severity. Treatment (by prescribed fire or mechanical removal) of hazardous fuel will help to reduce the impacts of wildfires on communities and restore health to fire-adapted ecosystems.

Under the NFP, the hazardous fuels treatment program has expanded significantly, with a greater emphasis on communities in the W/UI. During FY-2001, 2.25 million acres of federal land were treated. In FY-2002, 2.5 million acres of federal land are planned for treatment. Millions of dollars have also been appropriated for applied research and technology development and for forest health management.

Preparedness Resources:
The NFP provides funding for agencies to meet their full firefighting capability. The USFS and the DOI estimate their following combined resources for FY-2002:

Rehabilitation and Restoration Programs:
Post-fire rehabilitation and restoration work is implemented over the course of several years on lands that are unlikely to recover naturally from fire damage. Activities include:

Reforestation, watershed restoration, road and trail rebuilding, fence replacement, fish and wildlife habit restoration, replanting and reseeding. Total funds for this program for FY-2002, as a part of the NFP, are-$102,668,000.

Bush Administration Creates New Interagency Wildland Fire Leadership Council

On April 10, 2002 the current Secretaries of the USDA and the DOI formerly created the new Interagency Wildland Fire Leadership Council to further implement the National Fire Plan. Said USDA Secretary Ann M. Veneman, "The objective of this council is to provide a coordinated seamless management structure to all aspects of wildland fire policy. It continues our efforts to effectively cooperate with our partners at the federal, state and local levels. This agreement formalizes the efforts already underway at the

USDA and the DOI to coordinate our wildland fire management strategies and to ensure implementation of the National Fire Plan. The council will work with elected state and local officials, tribal officials and other federal official partners on wildland fire management policies. The NFP recognizes that effective fire management requires close coordination with state and local communities, particularly those communities that are in the Wildland/Urban Interface.

Robert Leaverton was asked the following questions:

Given the very active Wildland Fire Season-2002, are there any plans to rethink any aspects of the NFP?

Many of our forest and other wildlands have become choked with an overabundance of vegetation due to 50 years of fire prevention, fire suppression, not enough prescribed fire use and litigation by certain environmental factions.

What impact will the NFP have on hazardous forest and wildland fuel reduction? How will this be accomplished?