A Welcome Compromise on Dealing With Wildfires

By the Editorial Board
October 30, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States

Having burned through almost 14,000 square miles of western forest, killed dozens of people, and cost federal agencies almost $3 billion, this year’s extensive wildfires have had one positive effect: They’ve gotten Democrats and Republicans in Congress finally to act. Senators from Washington, Oregon and Idaho have introduced legislation that would let timber companies clear brush and harvest trees from federal lands in parts of the so-called wildlife-urban interface, rendering it less vulnerable to uncontrollable fires. The companies would be able to do this without going through the usual demanding environmental reviews. The agreement would make it possible to spend more on both fire-fighting and forest management. …It’s a shame that it took this year’s raging fires to push Congress to fix something that should have been fixed a decade ago. But if lawmakers act now, the U.S. will be better prepared to face the next wildfire season.

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