Let’s Discuss: Bloomberg’s Wildfire Resilience Plan


I’ve been trying to collect information on different D candidates’ positions on various federal lands policy issues. I was thinking we could take a candidate per day, but perhaps should have started sooner. Here is a link to a pdf

Mike will set a goal to reduce deaths and property losses from wildfires by 50% within four years. He will direct the U.S. Forest Service to coordinate with federal, state and local agencies, tribal leaders, environmental groups, rural communities, private timber companies, utilities, and the insurance industry to develop fire management plans for each state at risk.

Do States already have fire management plans? Would the goal possibly interfere with suppression choices to do WFU?

Double federal funding for fire management
Mike will double federal funding for fire management to $10 billion and devote half to mitigation efforts. These new resources will fund efforts to rapidly increase the pace and scale of forest restoration, reducing the risk of catastrophic wildfires. Federal money will also be directed to help fireproof homes and communities, develop evacuation plans, and strengthen other local resilience efforts, which will save lives, create jobs, reduce the costs and dangers of firefighting, and bolster insurance networks.

Of course, Presidents can’t actually double funding, but “increasing the pace and scale of forest restoration” sounds like another billionaire’s (currently President) policy. It’s nice to see some apparently bipartisan ideas.

Create a national Wildfire Corps to make communities more fire-resilient and restore healthy forest ecosystems
Mike will create a national Wildfire Corps, a new partnership between federal, tribal, state and local governments and communities. The Corps will hire and train thousands of workers to lead efforts to make communities more fire-resilient and restore healthy forest ecosystems. It also will provide enough firefighters to quickly contain wildfires when they break out.

I’m not sure that there is a lack of people if they were funded, perhaps there is, and/or a lack of training. I wonder if we asked fire people in communities would they see the same needs?

Use data and technology to detect and mitigate fires and to improve firefighting techniques. Mike’s administration will help fund a network of sensors and cameras to detect fires faster and more cheaply, and will strengthen the communications grid for public safety and emergency notifications. It will partner with state authorities to use satellites, drones, firefighting aircraft, and AI and communications technology to help predict the spread of fires and improve firefighting techniques.

Better technology.. why not?

What do you all think of these ideas?

18 thoughts on “Let’s Discuss: Bloomberg’s Wildfire Resilience Plan”

  1. I think this is a great start, and would love to see other candidates’ proposals beyond what we’ve already seen. Of course, these proposals are nice to say, but it would still largely be up to Congress to implement (i.e., increased funding). That branch of government continues to be a challenge.

  2. “Of course, Presidents can’t actually double funding, but “increasing the pace and scale of forest restoration” sounds like another billionaire’s (currently President) policy. It’s nice to see some apparently bipartisan ideas.”

    Actually ‘Increasing the Pace of Restoration and Job Creation on Our National Forests’ was championed by the Obama Administration.

    • Totally. And that was an uphill battle for the Administration, which encountered strong headwinds from Congress.

      I don’t dispute the intention, just the ability to execute given the politics.

    • And prior to Obama as well… an idea whose time has come and remains today..and that everyone seems to agree on regardless of party. Maybe we can look at stumbling blocks after we look at other candidates’ proposals.

  3. The “pace and scale” in the Sierra Nevada National Forests are minimal. due to funding and personnel issues. They cannot double or triple the amount of acres treated (under commercial thinning) by using Temporary employees, working just 6 months out of every year. They need a program to develop career ladders and hire quality permanent seasonal employees. Congress just wants to hire armies of Temps, who have no experience or training. Good luck with that, along with the low unemployment numbers, as well as low amounts of rural candidates.

    We need to get the politicians to go through training to become a timbermarker, just so they can see how difficult the job actually is.

  4. I’d support a requirement that members of Congress spend a week on the job as a timber tech! We should also require them to spend some time working in collaboration with diverse stakeholders: they might learn something 😉

    And I very much agree that one can’t increase the pace, scale, and quality of restoration without funding, training, and staffing, all of which require sufficient federal appropriations. Instead, we get attempts to “streamline” NEPA and other laws, even though the Forest Service has acknowledged that “It’s us, not NEPA.”

  5. I think the problem is agreeing on what “restoration” means. Not all vegetation treatments in all places do that. (Ultimately, it should be based on achieving the desired conditions in a forest plan that have been established using a public process.)

    • I still like the phrase “desired future conditions.” And that might be “The desired future condition of this stand is that it is healthy and resilient to disturbance.”

    • Ah but “restoration” to vegetation is a bit of a DC word, in that it means whatever the user wants it to mean. Restoration to what? When, why? and can we afford to keep it up? I actually like resilience better. And “restoration” is not just used about FS lands so the concept of DFCs in an NFMA plan won’t fit all the landowners (also how long will it take to get all the plans revised?).

      I like the watershed folks who have much better agreement on what “restoration” means.

    • “Ultimately, it should be based on achieving the desired conditions in a forest plan that have been established using a public process.”

      Ultimately, the Forest Service should be able to ‘veto’ such a public ‘vote’ on DFC’s. A ‘veto’ would have to include scientific reasoning in a fully transparent documentation, as well as the alternate selection(s). Much of the public has been fooled by both extremes, and that idea is stronger now than it ever has been. I’m basing that on the Facebook comments I see that have little basis in actual facts.

      Popular DFC’s from the public should be addressed, just as “Official Comments” are often individually answered.

      • Exactly, my point Sharon – “Restoration” is supposed to mean whatever the Forest Service decides it wants it to mean, after following the prescribed public process to establish desired conditions. I argued against every effort to include “restoration” in the Planning Rule because it is an implementation term – how to get to the desired conditions, which changes as current conditions change – not a decision made in the forest plan. Watersheds are conceptually no different. I do think forest plans should make some decisions about prioritizing active vs passive restoration for those implementation situations that call for restoration.

        Larry, the “public process” preserves the authority of the Forest Service to make its own decision after hearing from the public, subject to the Administrative Procedure Act, which requires their decisions to be based on the facts and not be arbitrary. (I’m with you on the sorry state of “facts” with the public these days.)

        • Here’s what the Society for Ecological Restoration says (it seems just as general to me):
          Our Mission
          SER advances the science, practice and policy of ecological restoration to sustain biodiversity, improve resilience in a changing climate, and re-establish an ecologically healthy relationship between nature and culture.

          Our Vision
          Ecological restoration becomes a fundamental component of conservation and sustainable development programs throughout the world by virtue of its inherent capacity to provide people with the opportunity to not only repair ecological damage, but also improve the human condition.

          • FWIW, here’s the FS definition of “restoration.”
            “The process of assisting the recovery of an ecosystem that has been degraded, damaged, or destroyed. Ecological restoration focuses on reestablishing the composition, structure, pattern, and ecological processes necessary to facilitate terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems sustainability, resilience, and health under current and future conditions.”
            (I lost. They should have at least recognized desired conditions as the necessary outcome – which should have accounted for sustainability, etc.)

  6. We had a fire in Southern Oregon last year south of Canyonville. It was fought by the Oregon Department of Forestry. They called it direct attack. They put it out in about 3 weeks. No one hurt.
    If it had been on Forest Service land and fought by the Forest Service it would of burned till the rains came, filled the valleys with smoke all summer, and cost ten of millions dollars more.


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