Millions are being used to reduce fire fuels and fight invasive plant species in Arizona
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Wildfires can happen anywhere across Arizona, from the high country to our saguaro deserts. So, managing our land and fuels is essential to fighting these fires.
Arizona’s Department of Forestry and Fire Management announced $8 million of grant funding to help reduce hazardous wildfire fuels. Part of this money will go toward fighting invasive plants. A study by Cornell University shows detecting and treating invasive plants costs the US $120 billion each year.
In Arizona, the Department of Agriculture has 53 plants classified as noxious weeds, aka invasive plants. These invasive plants not only choke our native plants and decrease forest health – but they also create fuels for wildfires across the state. One million of the 8 million dollars went to groups specifically targeting invasive plant species-- including the University of Arizona, the cities of Scottsdale, and Apache Junction.
“They can use that money to do invasive species eradication to protect their communities and protect our landscapes from invasive species and the threat of wildfire,” Public Affairs Officer Tiffany Davila said. They can buy chemicals and equipment to help get rid of the invasive plants and buying and planting native plants. “For us at the state, we have a whole invasive plant grant department that goes out and they work with other agencies,” Davila said. “Looking for our at-risk communities and we go into areas where we know there’s the biggest threat with invasive species.”
They hope that reducing these invasive plants strengthens our forests while also getting rid of extra fire fuel.
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