Report of the National Commission on wildfire disasters: presented recently to Secretaries Babbitt and Espy, its message is clear: without aggressive, proactive wildland management programs begun now, the worst is yet to come
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): National Commission on Wildfire Disasters
Publication Year: 1994

Cataloging Information

  • agriculture
  • air quality
  • arid regions
  • biomass
  • catastrophic fires
  • chaparral
  • ecosystem dynamics
  • education
  • erosion
  • fire case histories
  • fire exclusion
  • fire hazard reduction
  • fire intensity
  • fire management
  • fire protection
  • fire regimes
  • fire suppression
  • fishes
  • forest management
  • forest products
  • fuel accumulation
  • fuel management
  • general interest
  • hardwood forests
  • histories
  • Idaho
  • land management
  • land use
  • liability
  • logging
  • mosaic
  • natural resource legislation
  • Nevada
  • nongame birds
  • Oncorhynchus
  • Oregon
  • pine forests
  • Pinus ponderosa
  • public information
  • rangelands
  • small mammals
  • smoke management
  • Strix occidentalis
  • thinning
  • threatened and endangered species (animals)
  • understory vegetation
  • watershed management
  • West Virginia
  • wildfires
  • wildlife habitat management
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: June 1, 2018
FRAMES Record Number: 36944
Tall Timbers Record Number: 11369
TTRS Location Status: In-file
TTRS Call Number: Journals - A and Fire File (filed under National)
TTRS Abstract Status: Okay, Fair use, Reproduced by permission

This bibliographic record was either created or modified by the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy and is provided without charge to promote research and education in Fire Ecology. The E.V. Komarek Fire Ecology Database is the intellectual property of the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy.


Created through the Wildfire Disaster Recovery Act of 1989 (PL 101-286), in response to the destructive western fire season of 1987 and the Yellowstone fires of 1988, the Commission was asked to consider the environmental and economic effects of disastrous wildfires through recommendations on changes needed in federal land management and wildfire policy. Twenty-five members were named to the Commission in late 1991, 13 by the Secretary of Agriculture, 12 by the Secretary of the Interior. The members represent a broad cross-section of professional public and private land experts and managers offering a wide-range of expertise on the environmental and economic effects of wildfires. Over a period of two years, beginning in January 1992, the Commission held two meetings during which members heard speakers ranging from experts in fire ecology to insurance representatives submit ideas and recommendations. The Commission was not federally funded, and private donations were discouraged by restrictions contained in PL 101-286. Commission members contributed both personal time and, where their sponsoring organizations were unable (or there were no sponsoring organizations), travel expenses. Attempts to find funding for minimal staff input to assist with collecting and synthesizing available information were unsuccessful. This report encourages changes in the management of federal lands that are becoming increasingly susceptible to the threat of disastrous wildfire. It is the conclusion of the Commission that, while strengthening cooperative firefighting abilities, improving community programs that encourage fire-safe development in areas intermixed with wildlands, reducing public tolerance (or incentives) for the construction of fire-prone developments, and sound federal policies on fire management on federal lands are all important, they are likely to fall short of meeting the threat inherent in the current situation unless basic changes are made in the wav federal lands are managed. The vegetative conditions that have resulted from past management policies have created a fire environment so disaster-prone in many areas that it will periodically and tragically overwhelm our best efforts at fire prevention and suppression. The resulting loss of life and property, damage to natural resources, and enormous costs to the public treasury, are preventable if the warning in this report is not heeded, and preventative actions are not aggressively pursued, the costs will, in our opinion, continue to escalate.

National Commission on Wildfire Disasters. 1994. Report of the National Commission on wildfire disasters: presented recently to Secretaries Babbitt and Espy, its message is clear: without aggressive, proactive wildland management programs begun now, the worst is yet to come. American Forests, v. 100, no. 9/10, p. 13-16.