President Donald Trump wants the federal government to do more this year to prevent wildfires on public lands, including about 20 percent more logging on national forests.
But environmentalists argue that expanding logging could do more harm than good. And forestry experts say the president’s push in a December executive order for more “active management” of public lands — a concept most agree is a good idea — won’t get far unless Congress pays for it.
With the number of devastating fires expected to increase as the climate grows warmer and drier, experts and states want to see more federal investment in projects that could avert massive blazes.
Most forestry experts, including many environmentalists, say protecting communities from fire requires land managers to cut down problem trees, brush and saplings, and set prescribed burns that restore fire’s natural role in forest ecology.
Due to the rising costs of fighting fires, however, the U.S. Forest Service lacks money and staff necessary for projects that could make future fires less severe. [Read more…]