BLM adopts new fire management policy

BLM adopts new fire management policy

16 September 2009

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The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) High Desert District today announced new BLM fire management policy that gives managers a full range of options to use in response to wildfires on BLM-administered public lands and, when requested by landowners, on private lands.

The policy provides for a full range of options, from full suppression to using fire as a tool to benefit natural resources, and now managers can use wildland fire to improve wildlife habitat and rangeland much the way prescribed burning is used to reduce hazardous fuels and restore fire back to its natural role. “Whether we are using fire as a tool or we’re in suppression mode, the goal is always the same – to benefit the land,” said Richard Putnam, High Desert District fuels specialist.

According to Putnam, when a wildland fire occurs in an area where the resources would benefit and the conditions are right, then the fire can be managed for those resource benefits instead of being fully suppressed.

Depending on the resource values that are present and taking into consideration firefighter and public safety, some level of suppression may still be required in certain areas, while in other areas the fire will be allowed to run its course.

Although the policy applies only to BLM-administered public lands, it also provides an opportunity for interested land owners to work with BLM in managing wildland fire on their private lands. Landowners can enter into an agreement with BLM which gives the private land owner the same range of fire management options and benefits that are available to BLM and, at no cost to the landowner.

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