BRC Applauds Bush Wildfire Proposal

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The BlueRibbon Coalition recently endorsed President Bush's proposal to protect America's public lands from catastrophic wildfires. Millions of acres have burned, scores of homes have been destroyed, and 29 people have lost their lives in the fight. The intensity of these fires is so great that all living things are killed, soils are often nearly sterilized, and new growth and recovery is delayed for years. Massive erosion is one result of these catastrophic wildfires, with the resultant sediment clogging streams and harming all aquatic life. Recreationists, including BlueRibbon Coalition members and their families, travel to our nation's forests to see healthy, well managed ecosystems--not a wasteland charred by uncontrolled wildfire.

President Bush has recognized that federal land managers, such as the Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, and the National Park Service, are almost powerless to reduce the risks of catastrophic wildfires today due to "analysis paralysis." Forest Service Chief Dale Bosworth recently testified before Congress on how this analysis paralysis has almost totally stopped their ability to approve projects to reduce fuel loads and fire danger. Existing regulations have allowed appeals and lawsuits by special interest groups to stymie many forest health and fuel reduction projects in recent years, according to recent reports by the Forest Service and the federal government watchdog agency, the General Accounting Office.

BlueRibbon Coalition Public Lands Director Bill Dart stated: "We applaud President Bush for acting decisively to stop the wholesale destruction of our public lands. It is time to let the land management professionals do what is best for the land. It is only with active management that we can reduce the excessive fuel loads on public lands today, and prescribed fire alone is not the best option for those lands that already are overstocked with fuel. Land managers need to have all available tools, including prescribed fire and mechanical fuel reduction, at their disposal in order to provide the public a healthy ecosystem."

--For questions or comments contact the BlueRibbon Coalition main office: P.O. Box 5449, Pocatello, ID, 83202. Phone: 208-237-1008, Fax: 208 237-9424. Email: .

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