Forest fires
America’s 155 National Forests are managed by our Forest Service. These forests contain about 190 million acres, or about 9% of our total land area. Nearly 90% of these forests are located west of the Mississippi River, with 12% situated in Alaska alone. The U.S. Forest Service manages timber harvesting, livestock grazing, water, wildlife and recreation on these lands. However, unlike our national parks which protect resources, national forests were created to balance resource protection with resource use. This conflicting mission has been the source of endless disputes between parties competing for opposite goals. Environmentalists and naturalists consider logging, grazing and off-road vehicle use as threats to forest ecosystems. However, scientists are now saying climate change is the biggest threat to our national forests. Recent studies have found that longer droughts and higher temperatures are affecting a large majority of tree species worldwide. It suggests that many of these species will perish if the pace of climate change continues. Experts say that many trees in our forests are now suffering from drought, disease and pests. Our forests are also overcrowded with dead or dying trees and thick underbrush which in some cases is 20 times more dense than normal. Advocates say less density and competition between plants enable trees to better tolerate stress from drought. As an added benefit, such “forest cleaning” will also reduce the chance of huge wildfires that our West has come to know and fear so well.

Pending Legislation:
H.R.167 - Wildfire Disaster Funding Act

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Poll Opening Date
March 26, 2020
Poll Closing Date
April 1, 2020

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