Bill gives local leaders say in forest fire prevention

Bill gives local leaders say in forest fire prevention

27 July 2012

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USA– Colorado Springs — Rep. Scott Tipton is pushing a plan that would give local leaders, like county commissioners, input in managing federal forest lands in their areas.

The Healthy Forest Management Act of 2012 gives state and local governments a stronger voice in developing polices for the management of nationals forests and other public lands.

The board of the El Paso County Commissioners is asking Congress to approve the legislation.

“As commissioners we’re the closest. We see it in our back yard,” said Sallie Clark, District 3.

The bill gives states the authority to pinpoint high risk areas including those afflicted by the bark beetles, drought and deteriorating forest health conditions. It would also allow states to step in and do some of the prevention work.

Colorado Reps. Doug Lamborn, Cory Gardner and Mike Coffman have signed as co-sponsors.

Just a month after the Waldo Canyon Fire, Clark said, “We’re not out of the woods yet.” She fears if prevention methods aren’t taken, other parts of Colorado Springs will continue to be threatened by a potential wildfire.

“While residents can take ownership of their land … that doesn’t solve the problem of where fires start,” said Clark.

Clark said the bill has passed committee and hopes it will go to the full House for a vote soon.

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