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Department of the Interior
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Healthy Forests Initiative

Our nation's forests and rangelands are at risk. An estimated 190 million acres of federal forests and rangelands in the U.S., an area twice the size of California, face high risk of catastrophic fire. Years of natural fuels buildup, coupled with drought, insect and disease damage make our forests vulnerable to environmentally destructive fires. Many ponderosa pine forests are 15 times denser than they were a century ago. Where 25 to 35 trees once grew per acre, now more than 500 trees are crowded together in unhealthy conditions.

In 2000, the United States suffered its worst wildland fires in 50 years. Last year's fire season - among the worst in the last 40 years - saw 88,458 fires burn 7.2 million acres, an area larger than Maryland and Rhode Island combined. Three states - Oregon, Colorado and Arizona - had their worst fires in history in 2002.

The Bush Administration - through the Department of the Interior agencies and the Forest Service at the Department of Agriculture - is responding to this challenge by: proposing record levels of funding for firefighting (up 55 percent from 2000), hiring additional fire fighters, purchasing additional equipment, accomplishing record levels of fuels treatment (this year's estimated 2.8 million acres being treated is up 1,600,000 acres since 2000) and by advancing its Healthy Forests Initiative as a long-term solution.

On December 3, 2003, President George W. Bush signed the Healthy Forests Restoration Act of 2003, vital legislation that supports the Administration's Healthy Forests Initiative.

For more Information visit:
bulletJoint DOI/USDA Healthy Forests websiteNew
bulletHealthy Forests Initiative
bulletNational Fire Plan
bulletCurrent Wildland Fire Information
bulletUSDA Forest Service
bulletNational Interagency Fire Center
bulletThe Healthy Forests Initiative and Healthy Forests Restoration Act Interim Field Guide
bulletHealthy Forests Initiative / Healthy Forests Restoration Act Fact Sheet

News Releases for Healthy Forests
05/13/2004 Statement of Mark Rey - Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment, United States Department of Agriculture And P. Lynn Scarlett - Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management and Budget, United States Department of the Interior Before House Committee on Resources Subcommittee on Forests and Forest Health Concerning Firefighting Preparedness
05/05/2004 Statement of P. Lynn Scarlett - Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management and Budget United States Department of the Interior, Before House Subcommittee on Energy Policy, Natural Resources and Regulatory Affairs Concerning Administration's Regulatory Response to Wildland Fires in the West
03/03/2004 Federal Agencies Announce Guidelines to Aid Wildfire Prevention and Restoration of Healthy Forests and Rangelands
02/07/2004 Secretary Norton Announces Implementation of Hungry Valley Wildfire Project: Touts President's FY 2005 Budget Request
01/28/2004 Bush Administration Proposes Increased Funding to Maintain and Restore Forest and Rangeland Health
12/03/2003 President Bush Signs Healthy Forest Restoration Act into Law
12/03/2003 Implementation of the Healthy Forests Initiative
11/21/2003 Secretary Norton Applauds Passage of Healthy Forests Legislation
10/31/2003 Interior Secretary Gale Norton and Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman praise Senate passage of Healthy Forests Restoration Act of 2003
10/22/2003 Assistant Secretary Scarlett Announces WFLC Innovations That Will Strengthen Wildland Fire-Fighting
08/11/2003 President Bush Promotes Healthy Forests
08/11/2003 Remarks by the President on Healthy Forests Initiative
08/11/2003 Joint Fact Sheet
06/23/2003 A Record of Success: Meeting On-the-Ground Challenges With On-the-Ground Solutions
06/19/2003 Remarks Prepared for Delivery By The Honorable Gale Norton Secretary of the Interior Western Governors' Association Forest Summit

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