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Environmental groups sue BLM over plan for 11,000 miles of fire breaks

by Bill Gabbert, Wildfire Today |

Environmentalists have filed a notice of intent to sue the U.S government to block plans to build as many as 11,000 miles of fuel breaks they contend would violate the Endangered Species Act in a misguided effort to slow the advance of wildfires in six Western states, the Associated Press reported.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released the Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) for Fuel Breaks in the Great Basin in a Feb. 14, 2020, report. It outlines the construction and maintenance of a system of up to 11,000 miles of fuel breaks within a 223-million-acre area to aid in the control of wildfires in portions of Idaho, Oregon, Washington, California, Nevada and Utah.

The Preferred Alternative outlined in the PEIS analyzes manual, chemical and mechanical treatments, including prescribed fire, seeding, and targeted grazing to construct and maintain a system of fuel breaks. These treatments would be implemented along roads and rights-of-way on BLM-administered lands to minimize new disturbance and wildlife habitat fragmentation and to maximize accessibility for wildland firefighters.