Washington, D.C.--U.S. Senators Mike Crapo, Jim Risch (both R-Idaho) and Steve Daines (R-Montana) with U.S. Representatives Matt Rosendale (R-Montana), Russ Fulcher (R-Idaho), and Ryan Zinke (R-Montana) today wrote U.S. Forest Service Chief Randy Moore urging the agency to analyze and release standing sawtimber levels in high priority firesheds. This data is important to motivate and focus collaborative work between federal land management agencies and forest products companies as they work to remove hazardous fuels. Active forest management--such as thinning trees and removing underbrush--is the most effective means to preventing catastrophic wildfires, and utilizing public/private partnerships can simultaneously reduce fire risk and vitalize rural communities that rely on the timber industry.
“Decades of wildfire suppression have led to enormous buildups of fuels in our forests, which must be removed without delay,” wrote the Senators. “As the Forest Service looks to take advantage of historic levels of funding provided by Congress to reduce hazardous fuel loads, we encourage the agency to analyze how much standing sawtimber and other high value products there are within high priority firesheds and insect and disease treatment areas, as well as in wildland urban interface areas. Having a clearer picture of potentially available fiber supplies will assist the private sector in making investment decisions that can support needed fuels reduction work. As a land managing agency, the Forest Service has a responsibility to utilize all possible solutions to reduce fire.”
The full letter is available here.