Still, officials and Indigenous community advocates have described this year as a wake-up call.
Last month, Senators Ron Wyden of Oregon, Joe Manchin III of West Virginia and Maria Cantwell of
In California, Gov. Gavin Newsom has acknowledged that the state’s forests should be better maintained, even as he pushed back against President Trump’s characterizations that destructive wildfires are the result of insufficient work by state officials to keep forests cleared.
Mr. Newsom has touted a new partnership with the United States Forest Service, which controls most of the state’s forest land, with the goal of treating one million acres per year, including with prescribed fire.
All of that, officials have said, will require building better coordination with tribes.
“Our commitment at the Forest Service is to work with tribal partners to achieve healthy and resilient landscapes,” Barnie Gyant, deputy regional forester for the Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest Region, said in a statement. “Native American tribes, tribal governments, traditional practitioners and their communities bring thousands of years of traditional ecological knowledge to our partnership.”
They are not starting totally from scratch.
Lomakatsi, for instance, has for years worked with the Forest Service, as well as other nonprofit groups like the Nature Conservancy, tribes and private landowners, on long-term projects aimed at restoring large areas, typically tens of thousands of acres across multiple jurisdictions.
The organization hires and trains workers, including young Native Americans, who help treat about 16,000 acres per year with a combination of fixes including prescribed fire, native grass seeding and strategic tree thinning — which can even make some money back, if the logs are sold.