Wildfires have burned 5.5 million acres across the West so far in 2015, an area equal in size to New Jersey. These numbers put the current fire season on track to reach or surpass record levels.
Most of the acres burned — a whopping 4.7 million acres, or 85% of the total — have been in Alaska, where 300 fires are currently burning. While not all are violent and fast-moving, Alaska's wildfires have done significant damage in what could be the worst wildfire season in state history.
WASHINGTON, June 22, 2015 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced additional steps it is taking to integrate climate change adaptation into USDA's programs and operations. These efforts will help ensure taxpayer resources are invested wisely and that USDA services and operations remain effective under current and future climate conditions.
The effects of climate change are complex and far-reaching and it is clear that potential changes could have important impacts on the ability of USDA to fulfill its core mission. Under the updated USDA Policy Statement on Climate Change Adaptation (Departmental Regulation 1070-001), USDA recognizes that climate stressors have consequences for food production, yields of staple crops, forests and grasslands, and these, in turn, affect the economic well-being of individuals.
PORTLAND, Ore. June 8, 2015. A set of draft reports analyzing 20 years of monitoring data under the Northwest Forest Plan has been formally released by the Regional Interagency Executive Committee (RIEC) today. The reports, which summarize the latest periodic monitoring data gathered since 1994, with a focus on the last 5 years, are available at http://www.reo.gov/monitoring/reports/20yr-report/.
“The 20-year monitoring reports are an important data set for all of those impacted by the Northwest Forest Plan,” said Jim Peña, Regional Forester for the Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest Region and Chair of RIEC, the interagency group that oversees the NWFP. “Twenty years of monitoring demonstrates our commitment to adaptive management and fulfilling our commitment to the principles of the plan itself.”
Washington – In an historic step for the protection of clean water, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army finalized the Clean Water Rule today to clearly protect from pollution and degradation the streams and wetlands that form the foundation of the nation’s water resources.
PORTLAND, Ore. May 27, 2015. Log exports from Washington, Oregon, northern California, and Alaska totaled 272 million board feet in the first quarter of 2015, a decrease of nearly 16 percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2014, the U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest Research Station reported today. During this same period, west coast lumber exports declined 4 percent in volume to 162 million board feet.
WASHINGTON, June 1, 2015 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced that incentives will resume this summer for farmers, ranchers and forest landowners interested in growing and harvesting biomass for renewable energy. The support comes through the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP), which was reauthorized by the 2014 Farm Bill. BCAP provides financial assistance to establish and maintain new crops of energy biomass, or who harvest and deliver forest or agricultural residues to a qualifying energy facility.
WASHINGTON, May 5, 2015 – U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell presented the Forest Service forecast on the upcoming 2015 fire season in testimony today before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. Forest Service researchers expect 2015 to continue the trend of above average fire activity.
"Above normal wildland fire potential exists across the north central United States and above normal wildland fire potential will threaten many parts of the West this summer," said Chief Tidwell. "We anticipate another active fire year, underscoring the need to reform our wildfire funding."