UN urges action to protect forests’ genetic diversity

The United Nations is calling for action to improve management of the world’s forest genetic resources.  Our forest resources are “essential refuges for biodiversity” and provide us with a tremendous number of products and services, including food supplies.  Sustainable management is essential for ensuring these products and services continue to be available.

Learn more in the BBC’s article ‘UN urges action to protect forests’ genetic diversity’

Report: Global Plan of Action for the Conservation, Sustainable Use, and Development of Forest Genetic Resources by the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture 

Report: The State of the World’s Forest Genetic Resources by the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food Agriculture

Understanding forest history is important for mitigation efforts

Changes in land use and well intended, but misguided, forest suppression policies drastically altered our forests. Understanding what forests looked like before these changes is important for making forest management decisions as we work to proactively restore forest health and reduce the risks of catastrophic fire.

Read the Colorado Springs Gazette’s article – Mitigation by Forest Service, other entities looks to reduce fuels that lead to mass wildfires – to further explore this issue.

CO health officials may allow more controlled burns in forests

GOLDEN — Trying to prevent catastrophic wildfires, federal crews torched more than 40,000 piles of dead wood this past year in snow-laden Colorado forests.

And state health authorities may allow more controlled burns over broad areas. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has agreed to expand an experiment that relaxes smoke permitting so that burn crews can operate more freely.

While controlled fires that mimic natural cycles can protect communities and revive dying forests, they also produce smoke at potentially unhealthy levels, state air quality officials warned in a meeting last week.

Read the rest of the article in the Denver Post.

Udall urges that aircrafts be quickly refitted to fight wildfires

Mark Udall’s office recently published this press release:

Mark Udall, who has fought to strengthen Colorado’s ability to combat wildfires, urged the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Forest Service in letters today to swiftly repurpose military aircraft to help fight future wildfires in Colorado and across the West. Udall, who serves on both the U.S. Armed Services Committee and the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said these aircraft will help protect Colorado’s communities, water supplies and special way of life.

The excess military aircraft — seven U.S. Coast Guard-operated C-130Hs — were transferred to the Forest Service through provisions in the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act.

“We are in an era of modern mega-fires and my state has repeatedly broken records in recent years for the largest and most devastating fires in Colorado’s history. Projections for future fire seasons and the volume of hazardous fuels on the landscape make me extremely concerned,” Udall wrote in his letter to the Forest Service. “Air tankers cannot fight fire alone, but they are critical firefighting resources that can give firefighters time and prevent small blazes from becoming catastrophic wildfires. … I am requesting a report that describes the expected timeline for the completion of those transfers and an estimated date on which each C-130H will be employable as a firefighting asset, as well as their expected lifecycle and an analysis of what could possibly delay this timeline.”

To read Udall’s letter to the U.S. Air Force, click HERE.

To read Udall’s letter to the U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Department of Agriculture, click HERE.

Udall has been the leading voice in Congress to update and strengthen the federal air tanker fleet, including through the transfer of excess military aircraft. He recently pressed the U.S. Forest Service to quickly adopt the Government Accountability Office’s recommendations on how to upgrade its air tanker fleet.

Udall has championed common-sense programs and strategies to prevent western wildfires. He recentlyintroduced bipartisan legislation to allow the Federal Emergency Management Agency to proactively work with states and localities on wildfire mitigation projects.

Radical approach to protecting wildland-urban interface

Faced with these dire circumstances, 20 of the West’s most influential wildfire experts gathered in Jackson Hole, Wyo., at a closed-door Wildfire Solutions Forum last month in an effort to generate radical ideas on how to lessen future fire danger in Western communities. The theme of the event centered on one question: How can we control the pace, scale and pattern of future development of the wildland-urban interface, or WUI? Across the West, 84 percent of this interface – where federal public land abuts private land within a 1/3-mile radius – remains undeveloped.

This “84 percent” was a rallying cry for the two-day forum, and symbolized a need to shift wildfire conversation away from the portion of WUI that is already developed. This is breakthrough thinking in the world of wildfire policy, where the priority has been to protect existing communities rather than venturing into the realm of future development.

Read the full article – A wildfire forum takes radical approach to protecting wild land-urban interface – on The Goat Blog


Importance of Mitigation

Why is wildfire mitigation so important?  Check out the Colorado Springs Gazette’s conversation with two wildfire experts for their insights on the importance of wildfire mitigation in the wildland-urban interface and how the lessons from the Black Forest Fire can be used to help us better prepare for the next major wildfire.

Wildfire experts share insight into Black Forest fire and importance of mitigation by the Colorado Springs Gazette

Prescribed Burning Rules

The Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control has adopted new prescribed burning rules.  The rules will be reviewed by the Attorney General’s Office and the Office of Legislative Legal Services before they go into effect.

See the Rules and Regulation Concerning Prescribed Burning in Colorado and the Colorado Prescribed Fire Planning and Implementation Policy Guide for more information.