|Sage brush fire. Source: KTVB|
In Boise yesterday, US Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and Idaho Governor Butch Otter announced the final Integrated Rangeland Fire Management Strategy aimed at reducing the severity of wildfire and keeping rangelands alive and flourishing. The plan prioritizes the sagebrush ecosystem as the number one resource in the Great Basin area with thousands of ranchers and over 350 species dependent upon its health and vigor.
The plan focuses on four key areas: 1) Lives, and firefighter safety; 2) reducing the size, severity and cost of rangeland fires; 3) combating invasive weed species; and 4) positioning resources where firefighters can access them more efficiently.
To accomplish all this? COLLABORATION between private landowners, ranchers and federal, state, tribal and local agencies will be the key. One example of these collaborative efforts are the Rangeland Fire Protection Associations (RFPAs) comprised of ranchers trained to be first responders on wildfires to help limit a fire's growth and protect their ranchlands. In Idaho, over three million acres of rangeland is protected by these associations.