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Senators push timber industry to help reduce wildfire risk

Published On: Nov 09 2012 12:49:50 PM CST

A group of western state US Senators are urging Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to put the timber industry to work to help reduce fuel loads in wildfire prone areas throughout the west. 

The group, which includes Wyoming Senators Mike Enzi and John Barrasso, said reducing fuel loads in wildfire-prone areas would improve community safety.

In a letter to Vilsack, the bipartisan group said, "We are at a critical juncture. With historically overgrown forests, a continuing drought, vast stretches of beetle-kill forest and more people living in fire zones, we need to work expeditiously to promote ecological restoration."

Specifically, the senators want the Forest Service to expand the timber management program and prioritize timber sales. They contend there has never been a better time to reduce the risk of wildfires, restore forest health, and create jobs by converting hazardous fuels into energy.