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Federal forest reform won’t be the subject of a presidential debate question, but it’s a critical matter that has captured the interest of Congress.
The cost of fighting wildfires in federal forests is increasing at the same time that more blazes are draining limited resources. Drought conditions across the West and here in Washington are adding to the current risk.
We need federal forest reform sooner rather than later.
Everyone benefits when we focus on practical solutions and reforms to address the problems in our federal forests.
We already understand the economic need in our state to maintain forest health, as well as for wildlife habitat and recreational use, and scientific study is giving us a new appreciation for the role of healthy forests as a carbon solution. Wildfires are destructive to all of those interests. We need to be serious in our efforts to minimize the risk.
Efforts such as active management --- preventive measures like debris removal and selective logging --- are known to promote overall forest health and reduce the risk of runaway wildfires. Private forest landowners have used active management practices for decades to maximize the health of trees in our working forests.
Active management is one reform of our federal forests that would be quick to implement, create jobs, and rehabilitate our federal lands with a lower burden on taxpayers.
Most importantly, it addresses the goal we all share for using practical, science-based approaches to set a universally high, science-based standard for the health of all forests.
-Your Friends in Working Forests