The U.S. Geological Survey conducts post-fire debris-flow hazard assessments for many major fires across the Western United States. The information from these assessments is provided in an interactive map, allowing users to view fires by location or name and access detailed maps of debris-flow probability in the area affected by each fire. Users can select fires by year back to 2013.
In response to the catastrophic wildfires in 2017 thus far, and the escalating costs of battling fire-related damages, Congress is fielding legislation to promote forest management techniques that would return resilience to overgrown, fire-prone forested lands.
On September 27, both the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works and the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations held hearings to explore methods of restoring the health and resiliency of national forests and to mitigate the threat of catastrophic wildfires.
As the U.S. endures another fire season, legislators on the Hill are seeking to address some of the challenges associated with managing wildland fires on federal land. A hearing held by the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources on August 3 tackled the complex challenges in reducing wildland fire risk, focusing primarily on wildfire management programs and technologies.
Wildfires, or wildland fires, are a natural and critical part of forest ecosystems. Fire removes overgrown or dead vegetation and provides diverse habitats for plants and animals; in fact, some trees cannot reproduce without heat from fire to open pinecones and release seeds. However, natural fire processes often come into conflict with human development, resulting in loss of lives, resources, and property.