The Nebraska Forest Service (NFS) is urging landowners in the western part of the state to be prepared for fire season.
NFS offers a Fuels Reduction Program that thins out heavily wooded areas in an effort to reduce the fire danger.
Doak Nickerson, NFS Northwest District Forester, says another wildfire season like in 2006 or 2012 will happen again, so landowners need to be proactive.
“It’s an incentive, if you will, and provides help to landowners to thin their forest, manage it, such that when fire does come in the future, hopefully it won’t be as devastating as we’ve had,” Nickerson tells Nebraska Radio Network.
The Nebraska Forest Service has funding available to eligible landowners to cover up to 75 percent of the cost.
Nickerson says the upfront cost of logging dead or dying trees is far less than damage from a wildfire.
“These are big, big events, so it has a huge impact on the people who are living on this land, paying taxes on this land, and trying to make a living.”
Nickerson says fires that destroy hay in the field or in storage can ruin a rancher.
The key to growing a healthy forest, Nickerson says, is to have one that is thinned, so it has room to grow.
Approximately 40,000 acres of the Nebraska National Forest & Grasslands burned during the 2012 fire season of which 25,000 acres were pine forests, according to NFS.
More information on the Fuels Reduction Program is HERE.