November 10, 2021
On 5 November 2021, AGU sent a letter to Representatives Lofgren, McNerney, Perlmutter and Bonamici endorsing the National Wildland Fire Risk Reduction Program Act.
On behalf of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) and our community of 130,000 worldwide in the Earth and space sciences, I am writing to thank you for crafting and introducing H.R.5781, the National Wildland Fire Risk Reduction Program Act, and to offer AGU’s official endorsement for this important bill.
Wildfires are among the costliest and most life-threatening disasters in the U.S. and worldwide. Just last year, wildfires in the western U.S. burned nearly 8.8 million acres—about 75% more area than expected in an average year.
We applaud the bill’s creation of a National Wildland Fire Risk Reduction Program with a united federal approach that is science centered. Science is essential to understanding the complexities of wildfires and their impacts, as well as informing prevention and mitigation efforts. For example, to assess wildfire risk, the U.S. Forest Service Wildland Fire Assessment System uses real-time drought and temperature information provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
AGU also appreciates the Act’s establishment of an Interagency Coordinating Committee on Wildland Fire Risk Reduction to ensure appropriate coordination and funding of existing agency scientific capabilities and new interdisciplinary research collaborations. Experts within our scientific community underscore the importance of collaboration among scientists with widely varying expertise to ensure that decisionmakers have information they can use in wildfire risk management.
AGU members study many areas critical to understanding, predicting, and mitigating the impacts of wildland fires, as well as the impacts of climate change and variability on wildland fire risk, frequency, and severity. Given our strong shared interests in the goals of this legislation, AGU appreciates your leadership and looks forward to working with you on this critical issue in the future.