Yreka Fish and Wildlife Office
California and Nevada Region
National Fire Plan

Once thinned, smaller fuels are piled and burned
Photo: BLM/Chris Johnson
Each year, wildfires burn millions of acres in the United States, particularly in western states. While fire is naturally part of some ecosystems, many fires now burn with extreme intensity, due to the accumulation of fuels that has resulted from decades of fire suppression. In some areas, fire suppression will necessarily continue to be a major component of the response to wildland fires, particularly within areas of urban interface. The need for more protection for human communities and natural resources, and for a more pro-active approach to forest fuels and ecosystem management, has led to creation of the National Fire Plan. Implementation of the National fire Plan includes the need for closer interagency coordination of fire-related management activities, including consultation on the effects to threatened and endangered species, as required by the Endangered Species Act.
Photo: BLM/Chris Johnson

The National Fire Plan focuses management activities in three distinct areas. The first focuses on the restoration of burned areas, including administrative sites and developed recreation facilities, and restoration of wildlife, watershed, and fisheries resources. The second focus of the Plan includes reducing the risk of fires in the wildland/urban interface, where the past fire suppression has resulted in unnatural forest conditions with elevated fuel loads. The third focus pertains to habitat improvement projects for federally-listed and proposed species.  Since 2000, Congress has allocated specific funding to the Departments of Interior and Agriculture to implement these activities.

Use of drip torch for prescribed fire

Photo: BLM/Chris Johnson

"Slashbuster." Note dense stand of small timber in background.
Photo: USFWS/Cliff Oakley

The Yreka Fish and Wildlife Office, along with the Klamath National Forest and other state and federal agencies are jointly developing projects with the primary objective of reducing hazardous fuels through thinning or prescribed fire. As an example, equipment such as "Slashbuster" removes dense stands of small diameter trees that have grown beneath the canopy of larger trees. The trees are mulched on site. The Klamath National Forest anticipates 2,000-3,000 acres treated annually. Additionally,10,000 acres per year of prescribed underburning are anticipated to occur under provisions of this Plan.


"Slashbuster" in action

Photo: USFWS/Cliff Oakley

Forest Resources Main
Last updated: October 16, 2008