U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
|July 20, 2007|
Contacts: Tom Gorey, 202-452-5137
Don Smurthwaite, 208-387-5458
BLM to Carry Out Land Rehabilitation Efforts When Fire Season Ends
WASHINGTON, D.C.—In the midst of a busy wildland fire season, the Bureau of Land Management is already looking at what measures will be needed to protect the public and land from adverse post-wildfire season impacts, BLM Deputy Director Henri Bisson said today.
“The BLM recognizes the vital natural and economic role of public lands in the West, and our agency is committed to promoting the rehabilitation of fire-damaged areas,” Bisson said. “In the upcoming months, the Bureau will be taking numerous actions to rehabilitate or sustain the health and productivity of public lands affected by fire.” Bisson said site-specific actions include such measures as weed treatments by chemical, manual, or mechanical means; re-establishment of habitat through re-seeding of grasses, forbs, and shrubs; and the repair or replacement of structures such as fences, campgrounds, interpretive signs, shade shelters, and water guzzlers for wildlife.
Bisson said the BLM will work to address the concerns of all fire-affected public land users, including those who graze livestock on public lands. (When large fires occur, grazing allotments or portions of allotments may have to be temporarily closed to grazing use to allow vegetation to recover.) The agency will also take appropriate measures needed to deal with fire-related impacts to historical and cultural resources.
Bisson warned that the most difficult part of the fire season may lie ahead, with hot temperatures expected to dominate the Great Basin and other Western states next week. The National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho, which includes the BLM, has said the threat of thunderstorms, some with little or no precipitation, may further increase the number of new fire starts.
Federal fire officials on Thursday raised the national preparedness level to 5, which indicates the highest level of fire complexity and severity. The 2007 wildfire season to date has been characterized by continued drought conditions, record-setting high temperatures, extreme fuel conditions, and widespread dry lightning storms across the West and an early, active season in the Southeast. This combination of factors has resulted in multiple large fires in Utah, Nevada, California, Oregon, Idaho, Washington, and Montana.
- BLM -