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Prescribed fire policy barriers: Findings from a JFSP project on challenges and strategies on federal lands across the West

USU Forestry Extension and the Southern Rockies Science Network present this special webinar: 

Prescribed fire is an essential management tool for restoring and maintaining fire-dependent ecosystems; however, land managers are unable to apply prescribed fire at the necessary levels. Past surveys have identified a range of policies and regulations that managers say limit their ability to conduct prescribed fire. We are conducting a project investigating barriers to prescribed fire across the West for the BLM and the US Forest Service. Our goals are to identify the origin and range of interpretation of perceived policy barriers (i.e. whether these reside in law, agency guidance, culture, or individual discretion) and characterize the opportunities and mechanisms that are available to overcome barriers at various scales. The first phase of our project involved a legal analysis and interviews across the 11 Western states with BLM and Forest Service fire and fuels managers and state-level air quality regulators. We report on the diversity of regulatory approaches, policy barriers, and strategies for overcoming challenges across the West, based on our legal review and interviews. While air quality regulation limits managers’ ability to conduct prescribed fire, it is only one of many issues that managers say affect their programs; other significant challenges include capacity limitations, a lack of incentives to increase accomplishments, and individual risk aversion. We will discuss the importance of governance and communication strategies for overcoming the challenge of integrating air quality and land management concerns and discuss other suggestions from interviewees that would afford managers greater opportunities to get more prescribed fire on the ground.

 

https://youtu.be/_2tjDndbZpQ

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The Extension Foundation was formed in 2006 by Extension Directors and Administrators. Today, the Foundation partners with Cooperative Extension through liaison roles and a formal plan of work with the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP) to increase system capacity while providing programmatic services, and helping Extension programs scale and investigate new methods and models for implementing programs. The Foundation provides professional development to Cooperative Extension professionals and offers exclusive services to its members. In 2020 and 2021, the Extension Foundation has awarded 85% of its direct funding back to the Cooperative Extension System, 100% of funds are used to support Cooperative Extension initiatives. 

This technology is supported in part by New Technologies for Agriculture Extension grant no. 2020-41595-30123 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture and membership funding. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the content are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. For more information, please visit extension.org. You can view the terms of useat extension.org/terms.

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