What We Do

Mitigate Catastrophic Wildfires

Forest owners have the power to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires, but they can’t do it alone.

Looking to California: A Case Study

Private and family-owned lands represent 51% of the “high wildfire risk” land in California, making family-owned forests critical to the overall strategy of reducing risk and increasing wildfire resiliency across the state.

Longer, drier summers resulting from climate change, combined with historic fire suppression regimes, have led to overcrowded and unhealthy forests that are at high risk for wildfire.

Potential solutions include removing hazardous fuels (the accumulation of trees and brush left on the land) through active forest management. But effective actions can be expensive and complicated, especially for small landowners.

Enter the My Sierra Woods program—a collaboration between the American Forest Foundation, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, and other local partners designed to engage family forest owners, provide technical assistance and remove the barriers that might prevent them from taking action for the benefit of the land.

My Sierra Woods connects landowners with professionals who can help them navigate the forest management process, provides peer mentorship, helps to reduce the costs of fuels reduction and creates partnerships that facilitate increasing the scale and pace of forest restoration at this critical time.

Empowering family forest owners to reduce wildfire risk

In the West alone, more than one-third, or 52 million acres, of the high wildfire risk falls on private and family-owned lands. 

That’s why collaborations and partnerships like My Sierra Woods are vital—to help family forest owners engage in active forest management and connect with the technical and financial resources they need to reduce the risk on their land. 

Partnerships can also help address workforce capacity shortages, develop and expand markets, and increase crossboundary landscape impacts. 

The American Forest Foundation is proud to support several partnerships that work to mitigate catastrophic wildfires including My Southwest Forest (Colorado), the Kootenai Forests to Rivers Initiative (Montana) and My Blue Mountains Woodland (Oregon). 

Related Articles

October 14, 2021

Mitigating Wildfire Risk Out West

Reducing the devastating effects of wildfires is paramount for saving our forests, and the American Forest Foundation is working to empower family forest owners and firefighters to tap the brakes and gain the upper hand.

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October 14, 2021

The Impact of Philanthropy in Western Forests

Family forest owners Ron and Marianne Dreisbach use land management – and provide philanthropic support – to help wildfire mitigation efforts

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December 15, 2020

Overcoming the Capacity Challenge in the Western U.S.

To meet the need for more professional foresters to assist landowners in western states, AFF has partnered with the Natural Resources Conservation Service to build forester capacity across priority landscapes, with several successes and lessons in the program’s first year.

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