WASHINGTON, D.C. - In an address to the International Association of Firefighters this week, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced several projects for wildland fire protection and removal of hazardous fuels that will begin immediately. These USDA projects, funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, will create thousands of jobs in California, Colorado, Florida, and Oregon.
"President Obama is delivering on his promise to the American people to create jobs," said Vilsack. "These private sector jobs will increase forest restoration and decrease the size and intensity of wildland fires. Providing healthy forests puts men and women to work and makes communities safer and healthier."
USDA received approximately $33 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to fund wildland fire management projects and the removal of hazardous fuels. Projects funded by the Recovery Act also will assist with technology that converts wood to energy. Wood bioenergy, derived from the fiber of removed hazardous fuels, has become a cost-effective energy source. The use of economic recovery funds for this effort will be an investment in America's future.
USDA anticipates creating 25,000 new jobs over the next two years on projects relating to land stewardship and watershed restoration, green infrastructure repair and in the production of energy from wood. Many of the most affected communities of the economic downturn are located near national forests. Rural jobs are being created on millions of acres in need of restoration work so that money can flow into local communities.
The following projects are being implemented immediately:
Announcements of additional Forest Service projects funded by the Recovery Act are expected in the coming weeks.