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Wildfire, fire management and air quality news for western Montana and the Northern Rockies.

Interior Department announces $1.5 billion wildfire management plan

Firefighters building fire line.
Firefighters building fire line.

The U.S. Interior Department announced Wednesday a $1.5 billion plan to implement what it says is a more strategic and cohesive approach to wildland fire management.

Interior says its five-year investment in wildfire resilience will help bolster communities and ecosystems against the mounting threat of wildfires.

The announcement, posted on the agency’s website Wednesday, says the funding comes from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law signed last year by President Joe Biden. It represents an average increase of about 30% over last year’s funding for the Department’s wildfire management efforts.

The agency says the funding will be used for fuels management, post-fire restoration and fire science.

The new plan also includes pay increases and training of additional firefighters and development of programs that “support firefighter mental health and well being.”

O’Brien first landed at Montana Public Radio three decades ago as a news intern while attending the University of Montana School of Journalism. His first career job out of school was covering the 1995 Montana Legislature. When the session wrapped up, O’Brien was fortunate enough to land a full-time position at the station as a general assignment reporter. Feel free to drop him a line at
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