From 2000 to 2004, the Academy published a series of reports on how U.S. wildfire prevention and response could be improved. As part of this series, in 2002, the Academy conducted a study on how to reduce the cost of wildfire suppression, which found that the best way to prevent wildfire damage was to reduce wildfire hazards before fires ignited.
In 2004, the Academy explored this issue further with a new study that examined how to increase capacity for mitigating wildfire hazards. The report described the needs and tools for reducing wildfire hazards in wildlands and communities, the need to develop a wildfire hazard inventory to monitor whether hazards are increasing or decreasing, opportunities provided by federal-aid programs to enable states and localities to play larger roles, and challenges states and communities face in trying to improve and expand their mitigation efforts. The report also presents the Panel’s vision for how all the stakeholders can work more collaboratively in states and community-wide areas to mobilize resources more effectively, by jointly assessing their wildfire risks, implementing mitigation projects, and assessing progress.
The Academy Panel made recommendations that would strengthen cross-boundary partnerships, create fire-resistant communities and strategic fuel break systems, reduce heavy vegetative fuel loads, and restore forests.
Specifically, the Panel recommended: