Mitigate Wildfire Risk

In August, firefighters across the country are hard at work fighting wildfire.

As all eyes are on these brave men and women, the Forest Service has an opportunity to showcase the year-round work the agency does to reduce the risk of catastrophic fires.

Wildfire can be a natural and beneficial part of healthy forests and grasslands. But, as droughts, insects, disease, and other factors increase the risk these of uncharacteristically severe fires, the agency’s role in mitigating that risk becomes more critical.

Fires do not recognize jurisdictional boundaries or property lines. This means that Forest Service must coordinate closely with partners and landowners in both mitigating wildfire risk and fighting fire.

The Forest Service will do this by using the best available science and technology to proactively manage the landscape to foster long-term health and resilience of America’s forests and grasslands.

Key Messages

  • Healthy, resilient landscapes are the best method to prevent uncharacteristically severe wildfire.
  • The Forest Service is committed to increasing active management practices that will restore forest and grassland health and reduce wildfire risk.
  • Increasing active management practices will result in cost-savings for the American taxpayer by reducing the need for costly fire response operations and creating jobs and economic benefits for America’s rural communities.
  • Mitigating wildfire risk and responding to wildfires safely and efficiently requires the help of other Federal, State, local, and community partners.
  • The Forest Service is committed to its relationships with its partners in working toward increasing the health, resilience, and productivity of the Nation’s forests and grasslands while protecting life, property, and resources.

Discover More


The extreme fall 2016 wildfire season of the Southern Appalachians

The extreme Fall 2016 wildfire season caused death and destruction in the Southern Appalachians when it raced across mountaintops and sides. This poster by SRS researchers provides insight into why. This information can help make communities aware of conditions that may precipitate catastrophic wildfires.


Burning Forests Impact Water Supplies

This report is the first nation-wide study to look at fires impacts on surface freshwater resources. This report can be used by water managers whose water sources are impacted by wildland fire.

Fire can impact community water supplies. (Forest Service photo)

Consortium of Appalachian Fire Managers & Scientists

The Consortium of Appalachian Fire Managers and Scientists promotes communication among fire managers and scientists in the Appalachian Mountains region. This communication helps ensure that people working in the community on wildland fire and prescribed burning have the best available science to help plan effectively.


Video: Why Fire is Good (But You Still Shouldn't Start a Forest Fire)

Watch this video from Untamed Science that explains the importance of fire that can help prevent wildland fires.


Drier Weather, Drier Fuels

This study looks at climate impact on fuel moisture.

Prescribed fires are only conducted when weather conditions are safest. If fuels dry out, those conditions could become rarer. (Forest Service photo by Yongqiang Liu)

Center for Forest Disturbance Science

Meet the scientist at the Center for Forest Disturbance Science. Their fire and smoke research are helping fire managers and planners understand and mitigate wildland fire impacts and the best use and conditions for prescribed burns.