Wildfire Commission Report Released

From this page.


The commission’s second and final report was submitted to Congress on September 27, 2023 and reflects one of the most sweeping and comprehensive reviews of the wildfire system to date.

The report makes 148 recommendations covering seven key themes:

  • Urgent New Approaches to address the wildfire crisis
  • Supporting Collaboration to improve partner involvement at every scale
  • Shifting from Reactive to Proactive in planning for, mitigating and recovering from fire
  • Enabling Beneficial Fire to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire
  • Supporting and Expanding the Workforce to hire and retain the wildland firefighting staff needed to address the crisis
  • Modernizing Tools for Informed Decision-making to better leverage available technology and information
  • Investing in Resilience through increased spending now to reduce costs in the long run

Opportunities to Act:

Rather than selecting one or more potential recommendations, the Commission urged an “all of the above” approach, because the scale of the problem requires broad integrated, solutions. While the resulting recommendations are extensive and diverse, they are also complementary and interrelated. With these solutions in hand, the commission is recommending Congress act as quickly as possible.

Commission members will remain empaneled for six months following the final report being submitted to Congress.




6 thoughts on “Wildfire Commission Report Released”

  1. Apparently, everything is just fine in Timber Management staffing. No need for that, as firefighters will be taking over the timber duties, when it isn’t fire season. *smirk*

    Young people should be firefighters, first, for better career outcomes. You can always go into timber later, after you get your Forestry degree. The Forest Service will continue to have problems holding on to Forestry Techs. I predict that they will go back to hiring more temps, instead.

  2. “Landscapes that rely upon frequent wildfire have been transformed in the time since Europeans removed Indigenous people from their homelands and prohibited their cultural burning practices (Pyne & Cronon, 2019). Subsequent 20th century policies required the suppression of naturally ignited wildfires, while many landscapes saw widespread harvest of fire resilient trees, overgrazing, spread of fire-adapted invasive annual grasses, and land development. Together, these processes dramatically altered forest and rangeland structure and composition, creating landscapes much more susceptible to uncharacteristic high-severity wildfire and its cascading impacts to ecosystems and communities (Hagmann et al., 2021; Hessburg et al., 2021; Moritz et al., 2014; Prichard et al., 2021).”

    “Warmer and drier conditions driven by climate change are further exacerbating wildfire impacts by changing fire behavior (Westerling, 2016). Average annual temperature in the contiguous United States has increased by 1.2–1.6 degrees Fahrenheit for the period 1986–2016 relative to 1901–1960, with even greater increases in Alaska, the Northwest, the Southwest, and the Northern Great Plains (Wuebbles, 2017). Hotter air, which holds more moisture, draws moisture out of vegetation, creating increasingly parched vegetation that is more prone to burn. This rising vapor pressure deficit has increased risk of extreme fire weather, which in turn, has driven a rapid rise in area burned (Zhuang, 2021). Drier soils and vegetation, along with other factors, are also affecting the length of fire seasons. Western states have seen the wildfire season extend from five months to seven months since the 1970s (Climate Hubs, n.d.).”

    Given the above, and channeling some of the recent articulate and reasoned posts and comments on TSW, the obvious logical conclusions are the enviros won, climate change isn’t a driver, suppression works just fine, spotted owls and the northwest forest plan are the cause of the wildfire crisis, and we need a lot more logging. Thanks TSW for helping me sort this stuff out!

    • Hi Anonymous: Your organization of select topics and references is both logical and reasonable, as well as debatable — but that’s how science works, of course. Your summary paragraph is also accurate, but disorderly. As one of the promoters of these ideas, and assuming you weren’t being sarcastic when you stated that they were being presented in this forum as “articulate and reasoned” posts, I would list them in this order:

      1) Climate change isn’t a driver of recent increases in western US wildfire severity and extent; ownership, management policies, and lawsuits have been clearly documented for many years as reasonable predictors of these fires;

      2) Because the lawsuits were principally initiated — and successfully “won” — by environmental organizations (“enviros”) and were largely focused on reduced harvesting of snags and thickly-timbered trees (“fuels”) on public lands, the extent and severity of subsequent wildfires were markedly increased, as clearly predicted;

      3) Following the completion of a systematic arrangement of fire lookouts in the 1930s and the advent of available aircraft and skilled pilots following WW II — and the related great increases in road construction and active management of our public forests — fire suppression worked great in the western US for many decades;

      4) The combination of the ESA, the EAJA, spotted owls, and successful taxpayer-funded “environmental” lawsuits beginning in the late 1980s led to immediate transitions from active management to passive management of our public lands, directly resulting in a massive reduction of logging and other fuel treatments and related increases in wildfire severity and extent, as clearly predicted and subsequently documented;

      5) Restoration of timely salvage sales, road and trail maintenance made possible by profitable timber sales, and policies to quickly suppress all unplanned fires would result in fewer catastrophic wildfires, safer forests, more wildlife, needed jobs, and better schools, parks, and more prosperous rural communities, as proven and documented in the recent past.

      That’s how I would frame the debate(s). It might be good to discuss these points in more detail, but the Cloak of Invisibility makes that difficult and mostly unproductive.

  3. I haven’t read the report yet, but I’m assuming that “enabling beneficial fire to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire” is a reference to monitoring “unplanned ignitions” to achieve so-called “resource benefits.” The record is clear, however — assuming I’ve interpreted this correctly — that these efforts have greatly increased the risk of catastrophic wildfires, either through escapement or through the creation of additional fuels, including snags and singed brush.


Leave a Comment

Discover more from The Smokey Wire : National Forest News and Views

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading