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Program Assessment


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USDA Wildland Fire Management

This program is responsible for managing and extinguishing fires on Department of Agricuture (USDA) lands and on other lands under fire protection agreements. The three largest program activities are preparedness, suppression, and hazardous fuels reduction such as removal of small trees and brush that exacerbate fire risks.


What This Rating Means


This rating describes a program that needs to set more ambitious goals, achieve better results, improve accountability or strengthen its management practices.
  • Large wildfire costs are increasing as a result of many factors, but the Forest Service lacks an overall national management strategy for aligning incentives, improving accountability, and controlling costs by allocating resources on the basis of risk. Multiple Forest Service units spend funds without limits or regard to overall costs.
  • The agency has taken steps to improve program management over the past several years, but still faces significant obstacles in meeting its long-term goals of reducing risks to communities and restoring fire-adapted ecosystems. The Forest Service does not have the ability to ensure that the most important projects are funded first.
  • The program has developed specific and meaningful performance measures that target the most important activities, but significant work is required to improve data quality to use performance data for management decisions.

Improvement Plan

About Improvement Plans

We are taking the following actions to improve the performance of the program:

  • Refining program delivery by basing resource allocation on risk mitigation, emphasizing accountability for firefighting costs, improving management oversight, and ensuring fair sharing of costs.
  • Improving procedures for allocating hazardous fuels reduction funds by assessing the risks from wildland fires and determining the benefits of fuels treatment and restoration projects by priority.
  • Improving data reliability to fully evaluate progress in reducing risk of catastrophic fire.

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