News Release

USDA Releases $305 Million In Emergency Funds To Reduce Wildland Fire Impacts

Washington
March 20, 2001 -

U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman today announced the release of $305 million to the Forest Service to implement the agency's National Fire Plan.

"These funds are important to protect the safety of our communities and for forest restoration," said Veneman.

The funds are intended to reduce the impact of wildland fires on natural resources and communities. Specifically, released funding will be used for fuel management projects that safeguard communities and to decrease the unnaturally dense forest vegetation that has accumulated from decades of wildland fire suppression. The projects will be completed in collaboration with communities, states, tribal governments and other government agencies.

The emergency funds will also be used to restore and rehabilitate areas damaged by wildfires by planting trees, native grasses, shrubs and some non-native species to insure site stability and competition against invasive species. In addition, the maintenance of current fire facilities and the construction of new ones will support efforts to further improve firefighting capacity.

The National Fire Plan is an interagency effort between USDA and the U.S. Department of the Interior.