Senator Ron Wyden says the federal government’s wildfire prevention policy isn’t working and needs to be fixed. The Senator’s remarks came during a visit to a forest restoration project outside of Bend.
The Deschutes Collaborative Forest Project has a ten-year goal of improving forest health while protecting Central Oregon communities from catastrophic wildfire.
Wyden praised the environmentalists and timber industry representatives who came together on the project.
The senator said he wants to see the government pay more attention to such work. Wyden chairs the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.
He says years of neglect have allowed dry brush and trees to build up, leading to larger, more expensive fires.
“So what the federal government’s been doing, the bureaucracy takes money from the prevention funds to put out the fire and the problem gets worse and worse,” Wyden said.
Wyden says he and other western members of Congress need to put a new focus on prevention. He hopes to take up the matter this fall.