Jan 25 2023
Following members’ push for wildfire project funding, USDA announces large-scale mitigation projects in California covering nearly 19 million acres
Washington—Senators Dianne Feinstein and Alex Padilla and Representative Zoe Lofgren (all D-Calif.) applauded the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) recent announcement of $490 million to reduce wildfire risk in 11 high risk landscapes across the western United States. Five of the 11 new projects funded are in California, covering nearly 19 million acres. This funding was made possible by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the Inflation Reduction Act.
Last year, the USDA funded 10 wildfire prevention projects, with just two in California. These newly announced projects mark significantly increased federal investment in California wildfire prevention after Padilla, Feinstein and Lofgren led a letter in February 2022 advocating for California to get its fair share of wildfire prevention funding from USDA.
“We worked hard to ensure the bipartisan infrastructure law and the Inflation Reduction Act contained significant funds to address the Western wildfire crisis,” Senator Feinstein said. “These 11 projects announced by USDA will treat more than 18 million acres of forestland in California to better prevent wildfire. My thanks to the Department of Agriculture for investing so much of this funding in California, due to the magnitude of the threat.”
“I applaud the USDA for this critical investment to reduce the risk of wildfire in California and across the west,” Senator Padilla said. “California has the highest risk of wildfire in the country and it is good to see the federal government begin to address that reality. The investments we make now can save countless lives and billions of dollars in property damage. Making our communities more resilient to wildfire—by reducing hazardous brush and fortifying evacuation routes—should be looked at as an important part of rebuilding and strengthening American infrastructure.”
“In our home state of California, communities continue to contend with the reality of increasingly-destructive wildfires and nearly year-long fire seasons,” said Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren. “This announcement is another important step in getting federal funding to match the scale of the wildfire crisis, and it highlights how the programs and investments included in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act are being deployed for the betterment of our communities. I thank the Administration for recognizing that California is one of the states with a disproportionate need and for making the right investments that will improve public health, public safety, and resiliency.”
California projects funded:
- Klamath River Basin in California and Oregon – 10 million acres
- Southern California Fireshed Risk Reduction Strategy – 4 million acres
- Sierra and Elko Fronts in Nevada and California – 3.4 million acres
- Trinity Forest Health and Fire-Resilient Rural Communities – 910,000 acres
- Plumas Community Protection – 285,000 acres
This funding will support strategic forest thinning, removal of hazardous vegetation, controlled burns, and infrastructure upgrades to reduce the risk of wildfires and make communities more resilient in the event that fires do occur. Click here for more information on the wildfire crisis landscape investments made by the USDA.