Daines Talks Increased Risk of Catastrophic Wildfires at Senate Hearing

U.S. SENATE – U.S. Senator Steve Daines today at a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing highlighted the increased danger of wildfires and need for proper forest management.

For Daines’ opening remarks, click HERE.

“For the past decade, the Forest Service and the Department of the Interior have moved from talking about fire seasons now to fire years. Wildfires are starting earlier, they’re ending later, and are larger, they’re hotter, and they’re more devastating than what we’ve seen in the past. Fuel loads on our public lands are at all-time highs. Needed on the ground, timber harvests, and thinning work has been stalled by litigation leaving our forests very vulnerable to wildfire. Drought, insects, disease have turned these overstocked forests into tinderboxes that are just waiting to burn…

“The Forest Service 10 -year wildfire crisis strategy aims to treat 50 million acres of federal, state and private lands, but this is only a start to the critical management work that we need done. Over 100 million acres of federal lands alone that are at elevated risk of catastrophic wildfires. This risk is highlighted by the wildfires currently burning across the southern part of our country. To date, 1.4 million acres have burned. The 10 -year average in this same time frame as just over 185,000 acres burned, so we’re already seeing nearly 10 times the average destruction.”

At the hearing, Daines also called for passage of his bill to fix the disastrous 9th Circuit Cottonwood decision in order to increase common sense forest management practices.

In May 2023, Daines’ bill to reverse the 9th Circuit Cottonwood decision passed out of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee with strong bipartisan support.