The risk of severe wildfires in the West also threatens the region’s increasingly scarce water supply, a new study finds.
The study, to be released Wednesday by the American Forest Foundation, highlights that wildfires are not just a public lands issue. Private and family lands also are at high risk, the study found, and much of that land is in critical watersheds.
“Unless we figure out how to treat all the lands ... we are all at risk,” said Tom Martin, president and CEO of the foundation, noting that efforts to maintain healthy forests as a fire-prevention measure have focused mostly on public lands.
The study defines private and family land as land owned by individuals, families, trusts, estates as well as conservation and natural resource organizations.