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This month's policy update highlights the release of the President’s budget proposal for fiscal year (FY) 2024 and the year one project award list for the Community Wildfire Defense Grant (CWDG) program. 

FY 2024 President’s Budget 

President Biden released the FY 2024 budget request at the beginning of March. It outlines the administration’s proposed levels of federal spending for the FY beginning in October 2023. The USDA Forest Service (Forest Service) high-level budget highlights include the following differences between FY 2023 enacted levels:

  • 3% decrease for State, Private, and Tribal Forestry (a decrease of $10 million);
  • 13.7% increase for the National Forest System (an increase of $251.9 million);
  • 6.5% increase to the Forest Service Operations ($163.8 million); 
  • 13.6% increase for Research and Development ($41.8 million); and
  • 46.5% increase for Wildland Fire Management ($2.025 billion).

A stated priority within the budget is investing in the wildland fire management workforce, including “firefighter pay reform, funding for vital health and well-being assistance, facilities maintenance funds prioritized primarily for firefighter housing needs.” More information can be found in the White House fact sheet, USDA budget, the Forest Service budget justification, and the National Association of State Foresters press release.  

Community Wildfire Defense Grant Program

On March 20, the long anticipated first year project list for the CWDG program was announced by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. The CWDG program was created through the Bipartisan Infrastructure law, providing $1 billion for five FYs for grants for at-risk communities to develop or revise Community Wildfire Protection Plans (CWPP) or carry out projects described in a CWPP. 

For a deeper look at the western process, read our blog post “$197 Million Invested in State, Private, and Tribal Lands Through Community Wildfire Defense Grants”. More information can also be found on the CWSF CWDG webpage or the USDA Forest Service CWDG webpage