Federal agency takes aim at wildfires in sagebrush habitat

Two-pronged plan designed to preserve habitat, protect sage grouse

With the number of large wildfires on the rise in the sagebrush steppes scattered across Eastern Oregon and much of the mountain West, the Bureau of Land Management is looking at a multifaceted approach to cutting off the vicious cycle.

On Dec. 22, the agency provided public notice that it will prepare two concurrent environmental impact statements, looking at ways to reduce fuels for wildfires in sagebrush habitat, and analyzing the effects of building fuel breaks to better contain wildfires once they start. Officials from the agency said the proposal could go a long way toward protecting sagebrush and the approximately 350 animal species that depend on the habitat, including the much-ballyhooed greater sage grouse. Continue reading.