US Forest Service chief signs new direction for aerial fire retardant application

U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell signed a record of decision establishing new direction for the use of fire retardant applied from aircraft to manage wildfires. The new direction, initiated as a result of litigation in Montana, will help the Forest Service better protect water resources and certain plant and wildlife species on national forest system lands when fighting wildfires. The Forest Services identified and mapped waterways and habitat for certain threatened, endangered, and sensitive species in order to avoid applying retardant in those areas. To decide when or where to drop fire retardant, fire managers now have roughly 12,000 maps identifying avoidance areas. Learn more at

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