EDGEFIELD, SC — As part of its 10-year wildfire crisis strategy, the USDA Forest Service announced increased efforts to reduce catastrophic wildfires across the Western US. The 11 new landscapes in seven states: Arizona, California, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming: Will directly benefit at-risk communities and critical infrastructure, ultimately reinforcing NWTF’s collaborative efforts with the agency for greater resource impact natives of the nation.
Today’s announcement in Arizona’s Tonto National Forest complements the agency’s 10 landscape projects unveiled in 2021. Total efforts to address catastrophic wildfires will now encompass nearly 45 million acres in 134 high-risk fire basins in western the US This work will mitigate risk to approximately 200 communities within these landscapes.
“Our greatest opportunity to step in and address this emergency is now,” Forest Service Chief Randy Moore said. “Doing this work in the right place, at the right time, and at the right scale, combined with the use of emergency authorities, will expedite our planning, consultation, contracting, contracting, and project work to reduce wildfire risk and improve the health and resilience of forests. Collaboration with tribes, communities, and partners will continue to be a priority, and we will continue to use the best available science in doing this important work.”
These newly expanded efforts come one year after the 10-year wildfire crisis strategy was first announced. Since the strategy’s launch a year ago, the Forest Service and its partners have used the best available science and data to identify the highest-risk landscapes for projects. The agency found that about 80% of wildfire risk to communities is concentrated in less than 10% of fire basins. These targeted investments focus on the highest-risk basins, where projects are ready to start or expand.
“Just one year after the wildfire crisis strategy began in our western landscapes, the Forest Service is already increasing its efforts to ensure appropriate action is taken in a timely manner,” said NWTF Co-Executive Director Kurt Dyroff. . “We stand ready to lend our support through our shared-management conservation model.”
With more than 50 active stewardship agreements and about 150 completed, the Forest Service is the NWTF’s strongest partner, helping national forests in every Forest Service region of the country to enhance the nation’s natural resources. In addition, the NWTF and the USDA Forest Service recently signed a 20-year national master management agreement, the first of its kind, that fits into the Wildland Fire Crisis Strategy.
The partnership between the NWTF and the Forest Service works exceptionally well because the work done to benefit the habitat of the wild turkey and other wildlife has considerable and far-reaching benefits for overall forest health, water supplies, biodiversity, and the ecological health.
“Our partnership with the Forest Service benefits turkeys and turkey hunters, but so much more,” Dyroff said. “Our delivery of conserving our nation’s forests and grasslands impacts our critically important Four Shared Values, which benefit all Americans. We look forward to continuing our efforts with the Forest Service and addressing our nation’s most pressing conservation challenges.”
About the National Wild Turkey Federation
Since 1973, the National Wild Turkey Federation has invested more than half a billion dollars in wildlife conservation and has conserved or improved more than 22 million acres of critical wildlife habitat. The organization continues to advance wildlife conservation, forest resiliency, and robust recreational opportunities across the US by working beyond borders at the landscape scale.
2023 is the 50th of the NWTF the anniversary and an opportunity to push the organization’s mission into the future while honoring its rich history. for his 50 the anniversary, the NWTF has set six ambitious goals: positively impact 1 million acres of wildlife habitat; raise $500,000 for wild turkey research; increase membership to 250,000 members; dedicate $1 million to education and outreach programs; raise $5 million to invest in technology and the people of NWTF; and raise $5 million to build a $50 million endowment for the future. Find out how you can help us achieve these lofty goals.