Speaking again of the Salmon-Challis National Forest’s alleged predicament, that they have to sell trees to be able to afford fuel treatments, this budget proposal from Oregon Senator Merkley might be part of the solution.
“I’m ready to be in partnership with the U.S. Forest Chief,” Merkley said, describing plans to get the federal agency the resources it needs to improve forest management, reduce catastrophic fires and provide greater protection for parts of towns and cities threatened by wildfire in the urban-rural interface.
In Oregon we have more than 2 million acres and we’ve already gone through the environmental process to be approved to be treated, and yet we don’t have the money to actually do the treatment,” he said.
Merkley said he’s spoken with the Biden Administration about “viewing our national forest as infrastructure,” and wants the president to add forest management commitments in Biden’s infrastructure proposal known as the American Jobs Plan.
He also says that news of the president’s “commitment” to the forest management program could be days away. (This was May 28; did I miss it?)
I wasn’t aware that the legislation intended to end fire borrowing may have failed:
A “Wildfire Suppression Cap Adjustment” emergency fund that the forest service could dip into during “bad fire years” was enacted in 2018 by the Senate appropriations committee, but the fund conflicts with the 10-year budgets required by the Budget Control Act of 2011.
Merkley also proposes “offering forest management jobs to wildland firefighters.”