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Cooperation is essential to handle the wildfire problem, panel says

By Ron Dungan
Published: Wednesday, October 27, 2021 - 11:11am

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Firefighters fighting the Backbone Fire
Firefighters fighting the Backbone Fire near Payson in late June 2021.

Federal agencies and other groups frequently cooperate on fighting wildfires.

The Aspen Institute and Nature Conservancy are looking at how they might work to stop fires before they start and convened a panel of experts to talk about the problem.

As wildfires grow hotter and burn longer, it takes more resources to fight them.

Experts say that more funding is needed for wildfire prevention. That means thinning fuel with managed wildfire, prescribed burns and small-scale logging, also known as mechanical thinning.

But there are a lot of different landowners in the West, and that can make large-scale projects difficult.

"When it comes to wildfire, boundaries don’t mean much, and there really needs to be close cooperation among private landowners, tribal governments, state land owners and the federal government," said David Hayes, the Biden administration's special assistant to the president for climate policy.

Arizona foresters recently began to work with federal agencies on small-scale thinning projects.

Climate Change Wildfires