The government needs to do more to reduce the intensity of wildfires, and begin removing much more vegetation from federal forests, Biden’s government said in a statement Thursday. new strategy document.
Climate change is causing rising temperatures and longer droughts, which together have made veld fires more frequent and devastating. This year’s runaway fires, including the Palisades fire near Los Angeles, are expected to be even worse than usual, as many of the West have been caught in an unusually bad drought.
As the risk increases, the Department of Agriculture, which oversees the U.S. Forest Service, said it should double or even double the amount of vegetation it removes from its forests annually. This leaves less fuel for fires that do ignite, making it easier to contain.
The amount of vegetation removed each year “is not enough to keep up with the scale and extent of the veldfire problem,” the department wrote. It demanded the treatment of 20 million hectares on the land of the national forest system by 2040, as well as 30 million hectares on other federal, state, tribal and private land.
The strategy also called for more so-called prescribed burns, in which smaller fires are intentionally set to burn vegetation.
Michael Wara, director of the climate and energy policy program at Stanford University’s Woods Institute for the Environment, said it had long been clear that the government needed to reduce the risk of fire by thinning out forests more aggressively.
The bigger question, he said, is whether Biden’s government is actually going through and adding that what is needed is a clear plan to achieve the higher targets. “It’s not enough at this stage,” he said. Wara said.