Catastrophic wildfires significantly impact our landscapes, economy and infrastructure and are considered the most preventable natural disaster facing Utah. Reducing large fires in Utah will protect life, property, communities, economies, and our environment.
The goals of the Catastrophic Wildfire Reduction Strategy are:
- Resillient Landscapes
- Fire Adapted Communities and
- Strong & Effective Local Wildfire Response
Following the record-breaking 2012 Utah wildfire season, Governor Gary R. Herbert tasked state land managers with developing “a comprehensive and systematic strategy to reduce the size, intensity and frequency of catastrophic wildland fires in Utah.” That mandate, followed by a year-long, inter-agency planning effort, led to the creation of the Governor’s Catastrophic Wildfire Reduction Strategy (CatFire or Strategy) and associated Statewide Steering Committee (Committee). The Governor accepted the Strategy in December 2013 and implementation responsibility was then given to the Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands (Division) within the Department of Natural Resources. Immediately following, during the 2014 General Session, the Utah Legislature unanimously passed Senate Concurrent Resolution 7 expressing support for CatFire and strongly urging its implementation. Both the Executive and Legislative branches in Utah are committed to reducing the risk of catastrophic wildfire in the state.
According to the Committee’s Charter and Purpose statement, “It is convened by the Utah State Forester to advise and support the Division’s implementation of the Strategy and facilitate the inter-agency coordination and implementation of the National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy.” Furthermore, “The Committee is expected to provide support, expertise, relevant information and recommendations for successful Strategy implementation.” The Committee coordinates with local, state and federal government agencies as well as NGOs and private-sector stakeholders in a cooperative, unified effort to successfully achieve the Strategy’s Recommendations:
- Statewide Coordination of Mitigation Resources
- Catastrophic Fire Reduction Fund
- Regional Collaborative Working Groups to Perform Needs Assessment and Prioritization Across the State
- Technical Committees to Respond to Specific Concerns of Statewide Importance
- Adopt Key Recommendations from the National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy
- Increase Public Understanding and Participation
- Report Annually to the Governor and Legislature the Actions Planned and Taken