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Taking the Heat Off: Managing Invasive Species to Reduce Fires in Forests, Shrublands, and Grasslands

  • H-122, US Capitol (map)

H-122, The Capitol

10:00 am-1:00 pm

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

As we head into this year’s wildfire season, please join us for a panel discussion on the increasingly dense nexus between wildfire and invasive species.

The average temperature in the state of California has increased by 3 degrees Fahrenheit in the past century, so it is no coincidence that 15 of the 20 largest fires in California history have occurred since 2000. Fires are burning more than twice the area they did on the first Earth Day in 1970, and they’re burning through a fire season that lasts 78 days longer today than it did back then.

New York is host to hundreds of invasive species. The non-native hemlock wooly adelgid appeared in the state of New York in the early 1980s and has since spread through Long Island, the Hudson Valley, the Rochester area, Catskill Mountains, and the Finger Lakes region. This invasive insect has now permeated nearly half the range of native hemlock trees in the US, causing devastation as it continues to spread at a rate of ten miles per year.

Where do the two worlds of invasive species and wildfire collide?

Please join us for this important briefing where federal and academic researchers will discuss how the proliferation of invasives has exacerbated wildfires and how more and greater wildfires can render our forests and grasslands extremely vulnerable to opportunistic species. We will examine eastern forests, western forests, and shrublands and grasslands.

As co-chairs of the Congressional Invasive Species Caucus, Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-05) and Rep. Elise Stefanik (NY-21) offer this briefing in partnership with Reduce Risks from Invasive Species Coalition (RRISC). Contact Wendy Zirngibl in Rep. Mike Thompson’s office to RSVP or to learn more: wendy.zirngibl@mail.house.gov. Refreshments will be served.

Interested in engaging more? Join us afterward for a late afternoon reception with displays from several public and private organizations working with invasive species, plus RRISC's annual awards: 5:00 -7:00 pm, 2075 Rayburn.