Over 65 million acres of national forest lands are in need of treatment due to poor forest health associated with insects, disease, a century of fire suppression and the resulting build-up of hazardous fuels. We witnessed the disastrous results of our current forest policies this summer when over 9 million acres burned and federal wildfire suppression budgets were exhausted.
On July 9, the U.S. House approved H.R. 2647 to give federal agencies policy and legal tools to make federal forests less vulnerable to catastrophic wildfire, insects and disease while putting more Americans back to work. It will expedite critical forest health projects, speed post-fire recovery efforts and fix wildfire funding.
I hope our senators act on this legislation or pass their own meaningful legislation. Any effort to fix wildfire suppression funding must include reasonable forest management reforms that address bureaucratic “analysis paralysis” and obstructionist lawsuits.
I urge our senators to support legislation to address the threats facing our forests and communities.