Active Forest Management
Over the course of this past summer more than 120 thousand acres of woodland, forest, and farmland were devastated by wildfires in Central Washington. The U.S. Forest Service has reported the cost of managing Eastern Washington’s federal forest wildfires this year exceeded $75 million. That amount does not include costs from damage caused by fires on state and tribal land. This has prompted Congressman Doc Hastings and Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler to shoot off a letter earlier this month to U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell calling for better forest management practices here in the Pacific Northwest. Doc Hastings talks about one of the things he feels needs to be done during the wildfire recovery period to help decrease the risk of future catastrophic wildfires and improve forest health.
HASTINGS: There is no question what we need to do is be more active in our management, and one of the issues and one of the questions that I’ve asked the forest service is, “okay, we had these wildfires - what is the process now for - that is salvageable? The salvage window is a pretty tight timeframe. If we don’t offer sales to get that salvage out of these areas, they become fuel for potential future fire. To be honest, the agency hasn’t been as forthright as they should be on this issue. But I believe that this is one way that we should manage that, and we should take that salvage out as soon as we possibly can. And that should be the policy of the forest service.
I’m Lacy Gray and that’s Washington Ag Today on the Ag Information Network.