The House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation will hold an oversight hearing on Thursday, July 11th on "Wildfire and Forest Management."
This hearing will discuss the current wildfire season and ways to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire through proactive, healthy forest management. While factors such as prolonged drought continue to raise the risk of wildfire, it is imperative that the federal government actively address the one issue within its control: hazardous fuels. Unnatural, excessive growth and unhealthy forests increase the risk of wildfire. Active management helps protect and restore forests while also helping local economies and creating jobs.
"This week, Arizona experienced the most tragic wildfire in state history when we lost 19 brave firefighters to the Yarnell Fire," said Congressman Paul Gosar (AZ-04). "We owe these men our everlasting thanks and we owe their families a commitment to pursue pro-active forest management policies, which will minimize catastrophic wildfires in the future, while protecting our communities and restoring the environment. This hearing helps the committee's efforts to achieve these goals."
"Whether manmade or caused by mother nature, catastrophic wildfires are exacerbated by the overabundance of fuel. Dried, dead, or decaying trees and other fuels have been a scourge for many western states where wildfires are most prevalent. Reducing fuels through responsible land management, including decreasing the spread of insect and disease infestations like the bark beetle, is essential to reducing the risk of major wildfires," said Subcommittee Chairman Rob Bishop (UT-01).
"Prevention: a simple idea with profound implications for the future of western forests and communities. Right now, fires are burning tens of thousands of acres in Colorado, in my district. The incident commanders in charge of suppression efforts on the 97,000 plus acre West Fork Fire, which has threatened entire communities, told me that the behavior of the fire is unprecedented. Because of all of the beetle-killed timber and dry conditions, the fire has acted in a way that defies computer models and has been incredibly devastating," said Congressman Scott Tipton (CO-03). "The most tragic part of this is that the occurrence of these forest fires could be reduced, if not outright prevented, with commonsense healthy forest management. By taking action such as removing hazardous fuels and allowing the forests to thrive in a healthy natural state we could prevent the future loss of life, destruction of property, safeguard water supplies and species habitats, and promote a healthy natural environment. This is a Western emergency, and this hearing will be about what needs to be done to address it and save our forests."
"For years federal bureaucrats, heavily influenced by environmentalists, have failed to actively manage our national forests, which can lead to out-of-control wildfires, and threaten life and property in our Western States. We need the federal government to work more closely with state and local governments to better manage the forest lands and protect the surrounding communities," said Congressman Doug Lamborn (CO-05).