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Biden administration seeks volunteers for wildland fire commission

Three firefighters in a forest, watching a low, spreading fire that is scorching the grass.
Prescribed burns are one of the strategies foresters use to mitigate the risk of catastrophic wildfires.

The Biden administration is accepting applications for members of a new commission tasked with finding ways to lessen wildfire risk and restore burned landscapes. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny reports.

The Wildland Fire Mitigation and Management Commission was established by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act signed into law last year. The Commission is seeking volunteers who have experience in fire management from rural, urban, and tribal areas. Preference will be given those who live in areas of high wildfire risk.

The commission also includes representatives from the U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs, and other federal agencies. Members will meet at least monthly over the next year and a half and will write a report for Congress with policy recommendations.

Congress has set aside 8 billion dollars to address wildfire risk, which is rising in part because of warmer temperatures caused by global climate change. Since the year 2000, wildland fires have burned an average of 7 million acres a year, more than double the average in the 1990s.

Applications are due March 25. Learn more here: https://www.usda.gov/topics/disaster-resource-center/wildland-fire/commission

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Melissa joined KNAU's team in 2015 to report on science, health, and the environment. Her work has appeared nationally on NPR and been featured on Science Friday. She grew up in Tucson, Arizona, where she fell in love with the ecology and geology of the Sonoran desert.