NEVADA CITY, Calif. (March 22, 2021) — In the aftermath of a historic fire season that saw 10,062 wildfires burn nearly 4.2 million acres across California, Governor Newsom recently created the Wildfire and Forest Resilience Action Plan. This Plan will address the key drivers of catastrophic fires, significantly increase the pace and scale of forest management, and improve the resilience of increasingly threatened communities.
The Plan also outlines a strategy to meet a new target of the state: implement forest resilience projects on 500,000 acres annually by 2025 and expand the use of beneficial prescribed fire.
The Tahoe National Forest (TNF) and the National Forest Foundation (NFF) are actively collaborating to meet this goal, and successfully implemented 600 acres of prescribed fire in December 2020 and January 2021. Looking to the future, the TNF and NFF have an additional 2,000 acres of prescribed fire areas prepped and ready for immediate implementation when weather conditions permit prescribed fire activities. These future prescribed fires will occur on the Yuba Project, a 15,000-acre project in the North Yuba River watershed that is part of the larger North Yuba Forest Partnership.
“Implementing an additional 2,000 acres of prescribed fire on the Yuba Project will help improve the long-term ecological health of the entire North Yuba River watershed”, said NFF California Associate Bri Tiffany who is working with the TNF to coordinate the prescribed fires. “While high-severity wildfires can scorch seed banks and negatively impact forest regeneration, frequent, low-severity fires are a natural part of the ecosystem and actually encourage new growth of native vegetation.”
“Not only does increasing our use of prescribed fire meet both US Forest Service and State of California goals for forest resilience,” said Eli Ilano, Tahoe National Forest Supervisor, “but it can be a powerful tool to reduce the risk of catastrophic fire impacting our local communities. Returning frequent, low-intensity fire to the land improves the health and resiliency of the forest and significantly reduces the buildup of hazardous fuels next to neighborhoods, while providing a safer location for firefighters to defend homes and communities during the approach of a large, catastrophic wildfire.”
The NFF and TNF have entered into a Master Stewardship Agreement to ensure forest health and resilience projects continue to increase in pace and scale across the Tahoe National Forest. These organizations are also committed to providing the public information about prescribed fire, and the benefits of returning managed fires to the landscape. To see alerts of Tahoe National Forest prescribed fires, please follow the Forest on Twitter or Facebook.
About NFF: Chartered by Congress, the National Forest Foundation works to inspire personal and meaningful connections to our national forests–the centerpiece of America’s public lands. Working on behalf of the American public, the NFF leads forest conservation efforts and promotes responsible recreation. We believe our national forests are an American treasure and are vital to the health of our communities.