Trump Prioritizes Active Management For Wildfires In New Executive Order But Leaves Out Climate

Jan 8, 2019

A new Executive Order posted Monday in the Federal Register is aimed at fire risk reduction. It prioritizes "active management" on about eight million acres of public lands. That's a catch-all phrase that includes logging.

Andrew Larson is a professor in forest ecology at the University of Montana. He said there is some good science in the order, like how vegetation reduction can help with fire severity.

"So I was thrilled to see that show up in this document," he said.

But Larson added that the rest of document focuses on fire suppression.

"What's implied is that active management will fireproof our forests and rangelands, which is absolutely incorrect," he said.

The document also leaves out the word climate. Larson said that's a glaring omission.

"We know that weather, from hours to days, and climate, and climate variability and climate change, are all strong drivers of fire regimes and fire activity," he said.

The Department of Interior did not respond to a request for comment.

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUER in Salt Lake City and KRCC and KUNC in Colorado.