Wildfire danger increasing across U.S., federal official tells Reno audience

Excerpts:

A combination of forest restoration projects, creation of communities that can survive fire and aggressive fire fighting will be needed as wildfire danger increases across the country, the chief of the U.S. Forest Service said Tuesday.

… Serious wildfire years such as 2007, when more than 9 million acres burned nationwide, could soon be surpassed by seasons consuming 12 to 15 million acres, Tidwell said.

… Tidwell says forest restoration projects are crucial to thin overgrown forests and treat the landscape with prescribed fire.

Between 2001 -- when Congress adopted the National Fire Plan -- and 2008, nearly 30 million acres of federal land were treated to prevent fire. Tidwell said at that pace, it will take 35 years to treat the amount of terrain needed.