Fire Science Digest focuses on Secretarial Order 3336

The current issue of the Fire Science Digest focuses on Secretarial Order 3336 titled “Rangeland Fire Prevention, Management, and Restoration.” Within sagebrush ecosystems, which are home to more than 350 species of plants and animals, potentially more frequent and severe fires are causing an increased threat to human safety, property, rural economies, and wildlife habitat. In particular, the habitat of the Greater Sage-grouse, an iconic sagebrush-dependent species, is at risk.

In response to this reality, on January 15, 2015, Secretary Sally Jewell signed Secretarial Order 3336. The main purpose of the order is to implement enhanced policies and strategies for managing rangeland fire and restoring sagebrush landscapes impacted by fire across the West. The attached newsletter summarizes the purpose and need of this order, its implementation and the partners involved.

This newsletter closes with the following comment:

Back in the 1940s, the iconic conservationist Aldo Leopold expressed these thoughts about the rapidly expanding cheatgrass problem: “I listened carefully for clues whether the West has accepted cheat as a necessary evil, to be lived with until kingdom come, or whether it regards cheat as a challenge to rectify its past errors in land-use. I found the hopeless attitude almost universal. There is, as yet, no sense of pride in the husbandry of wild plants and animals, no sense of shame in the proprietorship of a sick landscape.” (Leopold 1949)

Fortunately, thanks in part to Secretarial Order 3336, most rangeland managers and their partners today are anything but hopeless about sagebrush ecosystems. Instead, landscape restoration has become the modern clarion call.