Delegation urges USDA and Forest Service to include Wyoming within its 10-year wildfire strategy and to stop its pattern of excluding Wyoming in the fight against western wildfires
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Sens. John Barrasso and Cynthia Lummis and Rep. Harriet Hageman, all R-Wyo., sent a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack and U.S. Forest Service Chief Randy Moore criticizing their agencies for failing to protect Wyoming from the increased threat of catastrophic wildfire.
In the letter, the delegation notes how Wyoming is the only western state to be omitted from the USDA and Forest Service’s 10-year strategy to combat wildfires across the American West. The delegation also admonishes the agencies for excluding Wyoming membership from the recently formed, Congressionally-mandated wildfire commission.
“According to recent Forest Service estimates, more than four million acres in Wyoming are at either ‘high’ or ‘very high’ risk to catastrophic wildfire,” the delegation wrote. “These acres harbor and neighbor wonderful communities, pristine national treasures like Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, majestic wildlife, and crucial infrastructure and energy resources. They also contain important watersheds that are part of the headwaters of the Colorado River. . . The longer the Forest Service and USDA delays the urgent work needed to restore high-risk acres to good health, the longer our people and resources remain dangerously susceptible to catastrophic fire.”
Click here for a copy of the letter.