A recent audit faults the U.S. Forest Service’s hazardous fuels reduction program for failing to prioritize or accurately account for efforts aimed at minimizing fire intensity.
The report, released last week by the inspector general for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, says priorities for reducing ground fuel aren’t being made based on risk. The report was based on visits to three of nine regional offices and conversations with officials in Redding, Vallejo and San Bernardino, among others.
The National Forest Service has identified just under 100 million acres of agency land with at least moderate potential to burn, including 58 million acres at high risk in areas known as the wildland-urban interface where population and forests overlap.
Because the Forest Service has limited funding —more than half its money goes for preparing for or fighting fires — the agency can treat only about 2.9 million acres a year. About 1.5 million of those acres are in the urban interfaces.
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Source: USA Today
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