Category: National Forests

Forest Service Firefighter DIES IN New Mexico FIRE

U.S. Forest Service mourns the loss of wildland firefighter Tim Hart who was fighting fire in New Mexico.    “I am deeply saddened to share that Tim Hart, a Forest Service Smokejumper, has died from injuries sustained on May 24 while responding to the Eicks Fire in Hildago County, New Mexico,” said Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen. “Our hearts go out to Tim’s family, loved ones, friends, fellow Forest Service employees, and the entire wildland fire community, and I ask that you keep them in your thoughts and prayers during this time of sorrow while respecting the family’s privacy.”

In 2006 he began his wildland firefighting career on the Coconino National Forest and then the Fremont-Winema National Forest as an Engine Crew Member. Then in 2009, he joined the Shoshone National Forest as a Lead Forestry Technician on an Engine and in 2010 detailed to the Asheville Interagency Hotshot Crew as a Lead Firefighter. 

Tim worked for the Bureau of Land Management on the Ruby Mountain Hotshot Crew. He joined the smokejumper program in 2016 and re-located to Grangeville, Idaho as a Rookie. In 2019 his wildland firefighter journey took him to West Yellowstone, Montana as a Smokejumper Squad Leader and in 2020 as a Spotter.

Memorial services information is not yet available. For more information: www.fs.usda.gov/custergallatin

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New Data Shows Visits Soared Across National Forests in 2020

New data shows more people than ever visited national forests and grasslands last year, according to a Forest Service report released today. National forests and grasslands received 168 million visits in 2020 – an increase of 18 million when compared to 2019.
The Forest Service, working closely with partners, was able to keep more than 80% of recreation sites open to visitors during the pandemic, while maintaining a focus on visitor and staff safety. The report, compiled by the Forest Service’s National Visitor Use Monitoring program, shows the steepest increase in visits happened between May and October of last year. Dispersed recreation sites and wilderness areas saw the most significant increases, with an estimated 25% increase in visitation overall. Visits to those areas surged even higher in the summer months when compared to 2019.
The data also shows that visitors enjoyed their experience, with 95% of visitors reporting being satisfied or very satisfied with their visit.
“We’re honored to have helped so many people safely find respite and relief during the pandemic,” said Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen. “Our national forests and grasslands offer some of the most readily available and valuable outdoor recreation settings in the country. As we enter the summer months this year, we look forward to providing positive experiences on our national forests and grasslands, and working with partners to support safe and equitable access to the outdoors.”
Completed in five-year cycles, the National Visitor Use Monitoring results give the Forest Service the information they need to best manage recreation to meet visitor demands while continuing the care for the long-term health and productivity of America’s national forests and grasslands. Results in this report reflect the most recent field data on each national forest and include fiscal years 2016 through 2020.
To learn more, visit https://www.fs.usda.gov/about-agency/nvum/.  

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