Wildfire

Has your agricultural operation been impacted by wildfire? USDA offers programs that can help with recovery as well as those that can help you manage risk on your operation.

Emergency Relief Program (ERP)

USDA announced that commodity and specialty crop producers impacted by natural disaster events in 2020 and 2021 will soon begin receiving emergency relief payments totaling approximately $6 billion through the Farm Service Agency’s (FSA) new Emergency Relief Program (ERP) to offset crop yield and value losses.

Recovery on Your Operation

USDA offers a suite of disaster assistance programs that can help with recovery, including:

Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program

The Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP) provides emergency assistance to eligible producers of livestock, honeybees and farm-raised fish. It covers losses due to an eligible adverse weather or loss conditions as well as expenses associated with transportation of water and feed to livestock. ELAP is not eligible on federally managed lands.

Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program

The Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program provides financial assistance to producers of non-insurable crops to protect against natural disasters that result in lower yields or crop losses or prevents crop planting. Producers must have obtained NAP coverage for the crop year in which the loss occurs.

Tree Assistance Program

 

The Tree Assistance Program  provides cost-share assistance to replant or rehabilitate trees, bushes or vines lost during the natural disaster.

This program provides assistance for trees, bushes or vines not covered by the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program or crop insurance.

Livestock Indemnity Program

The Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) provides benefits to livestock owners and contract growers who experience livestock deaths in excess of normal mortality caused by specific adverse weather, disease, or animal attacks.

Livestock Forage Disaster Program

The Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) provides benefits for grazing losses due to wildfire.

LFP benefits may also be available for loss of grazing acres due to wildfires on federally managed lands on which a producer is prohibited, by a federal agency, from grazing normally permitted livestock.

 

Emergency Livestock Relief Program

Livestock producers who have approved applications through the 2021 Livestock Forage Disaster Program for forage losses due to severe drought or wildfire will soon begin receiving emergency relief payments to compensate for increases in supplemental feed costs through the Farm Service Agency’s Emergency Livestock Relief Program (ELRP).

Emergency haying and grazing of Conservation Reserve Program acres

When authorized, the Emergency haying and grazing of Conservation Reserve Program acres allows producers to graze livestock on lands enrolled in CRP, except for during primary nesting season.

Emergency Conservation Program and Emergency Forest Restoration Program

The Emergency Conservation Program and Emergency Forest Restoration Program provide financial and technical assistance to restore conservation practices like fencing, damaged farmland or forests.

Environmental Quality Incentives Program

The Environmental Quality Incentives Program provides financial and technical assistance to implement conservation practices. Common practices to help recover from wildfire include installing erosion control measures, planting trees, thinning and removing damaged trees and reseeding and replanting riparian areas. 

Emergency Watershed Program

The Emergency Watershed Protection Program– with recovery and floodplain easement options – provides personalized advice and financial assistance to relieve imminent threats to life and property caused by floods, fires, windstorms, and other natural disasters that impair a watershed.

EWP Recovery addresses erosion related watershed impairments by supporting activities such as removing debris from stream channels, road culverts, and bridges; reshaping and protecting eroded banks; correcting damaged drainage facilities; repairing levees and structures; and reseeding damaged areas.

EWP Floodplain Easement offers an alternative method to the traditional EWP Program Recovery. NRCS recommends this option to landowners and others where acquiring an easement is the best approach (more economical and prudent) to reduce threat to life and/or property.

Farm Loans

USDA offers a variety of direct and guaranteed loans, including operating and emergency loans to eligible producers unable to secure commercial financing. Loans can help producers replace essential property, purchase inputs like livestock, equipment, feed and seed, cover family living expenses or refinance farm-related debts and other needs.

Additionally, several loan servicing options are available for borrowers who are unable to make scheduled payments on their farm loan program debt to the Agency because of reasons beyond their control.

Protect Your Operation

If you do not have crop insurance or Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program coverage, consider these risk management options to help protect your operation.

  • For crop insurance, use the Agent Locator to find a crop insurance agent near you. USDA’s Risk Management Agency works closely with Approved Insurance Providers, who sell and service the policies that producers purchase, to ensure efficient loss adjustment and prompt claims payments.
  • Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) coverage, contact your USDA Service Center to obtain coverage.

Protect Yourself and Property

It is important after a wildfire to ensure your own personal safety and the safety of the public. Walk your property and look for safety issues along property boundaries, roads and buildings. Check for the following:

  • Are there fire damaged trees within one tree height of your home, other structures or access roads? If so, refer to the Forest Service publication: Postfire Assessment of Tree Status. If cutting/removing hazardous trees, leave stumps in place as the tree roots will continue to hold the soil for several years while they decompose. This is especially important near streams and rivers. 
  • After a fire, the risk of flash floods, debris and mud flows is much greater. Consider the following to evaluate your flooding risks:
  • How close is your house and/or outbuilding to the closest stream/river, seasonal draws or valley bottoms (floodplains?)
  • Could your home become inaccessible? Do you have a bridge or culvert, stream or drainage crossing that could be destroyed by a flash flood?

If your home survived the wildfire, it may still be at risk of post-fire flooding or debris flows. Consider the following questions and steps to manage your risk and protect your property:

  • Are there National Weather Service rain gauges in your watershed? If so, is there an emergency alert system associated with them?
  • Contact your insurance agent or FEMA about The National Flood Insurance Program even if you are out of the 100-year flood plain.
  • Remove debris in and near culverts and cross drains. This includes rocks, decking, structures, vegetation, fences across draws, etc.
  • When walking your property, look for items that may potentially plug stream channels and/or culverts, particularly at road crossings.
  • Secure any outdoor items. Move lawn furniture, barbecues, pool covers, etc. inside.
  • Identify sources of surface runoff onto property and around your house.
  • Evaluate plant debris (e.g. duff, leaves, limbs and tree trunks) left on-site.  If debris is not close to streams and rivers where it may contribute to flooding hazards and is not in excess for forest stand fuel loads, consider leaving it to help stabilize soils and intercept runoff. 

Reporting Losses/Submitting Applications

If your operation was impacted by a natural disaster and you have an interest in participating in an available disaster assistance program, you should report losses and damages to FSA and/or your Approved Insurance Provider for crop insurance claims.

Timelines to file notices of loss and submit applications differ by program or coverage:

  • Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-raised Fish Program: File with your Service Center within 30 days for livestock and fish and within 15 days for honeybees.
  • Tree Assistance Program: File a program application with your Service Center within 90 days.
  • Non-insured Crop Disaster Assistance Program: File notice of loss with your Service Center within 15 days, except for hand-harvested crops, which should be filed within 72 hours.
  • Crop Insurance: Contact your agent within 72 hours of discovering damage and follow up in writing within 15 days.

Translated Resources

Visit our Translations page to find translated disaster resources and other USDA resources in languages other than English.

Find Your Local Service Center

We are committed to delivering USDA services to America’s farmers and ranchers while taking safety measures in response to the pandemic. Some USDA offices are beginning to reopen to limited visitors by appointment only. Service Center staff also continue to work with agricultural producers via phone, email, and other digital tools. Learn more at farmers.gov/coronavirus.

USDA Service Centers are locations where you can connect with Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, or Rural Development employees for your business needs. Enter your state and county below to find your local service center and agency offices. If this locator does not work in your browser, please visit offices.usda.gov.

Visit the Risk Management Agency website to find a regional or compliance office or to find an insurance agent near you.