BOISE, Idaho – The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) on Friday released a decision on the effort to reduce wildland fire fuels and restore sagebrush habitats in the Great Basin, impacting more than 38 million acres of land across six states. The final decision statement will guide planning efforts for BLM specific local fuels reduction and rangeland restoration projects to allow for more rapid implementation.
The Fuels Reduction and Rangeland Restoration Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement decision focuses on mitigating wildfire risk through fuels reduction and rangeland restoration through a variety of measures including targeted grazing, prescribed fire and mechanical, biological and chemical treatment of invasive annual grasses and vegetation. Actions will be implemented by BLM district and field offices in California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Washington.
“Finalizing this effort today is the culmination of the President and the Secretary’s historic efforts to meaningfully address wildfire risks across the West,” said Casey Hammond, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management. “From creating new administrative tools to completing environmental analyses allowing for strategic rangeland treatments, the Department has actively led the way in reducing fuel loads and the threat of catastrophic wildfires.”
The BLM said Friday’s decision “builds on a complementary planning effort – the Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for Fuel Breaks in the Great Basin” that the BLM completed in April 2020. That effort calls for construction of up to 11,000 miles of fuel breaks to control wildfires, of which 1,000 miles have already been completed.
Both efforts are part of a broader effort to curb wildfires in the West. In the past four years the Department of the Interior, largely through BLM activities, has treated 5.4 million acres of land to reduce wildfire risk.
An electronic copy of the record of decision, the final programmatic environmental impact statement for Fuels Reduction and Rangeland Restoration in the Great Basin and associated documents are available on the BLM Land Use Planning and NEPA register at https://eplanning.blm.gov/eplanning-ui/project/122968/570