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Past Fire Seasons Dwarf Number of Acres Burned This Year
Additional Contacts: Matthew Koehler, WildWest Institute, (406) 396-0321
Missoula, MT - With so much media and political attention focused on wildfires – and in some cases public lands management and calls to greatly increase logging on national forests by reducing public input and environmental analysis – it is helpful to review this year's wildfire statistics to see what's burned and where.
According to the National Interagency Coordinator Center's 'Incident Management Situation Report from Tuesday, September 1, 2015’ (http://www.nifc.gov/nicc/sitreprt.pdf):
This information is not meant to discount specific experiences communities, homeowners or citizens have had with wildfires this year, but serves as important, fact-based information and context regarding what land ownerships have burned and where they are located.
Again, this information is especially important in the context of recent statements (and pending federal legislation) from lawmakers blaming wildfires on a lack of national forest logging or a handful of timber sale lawsuits.
If lawmakers are going to use another wildfire season to weaken our nation's key environmental or public lands laws by increasing logging (including calls by Rep Ryan Zinke (R-MT) for logging within Wilderness Areas) then the public should have facts and statistics available to help put the wildfires in context.
Finally, please keep in mind that right now the U.S. Forest Service has the ability to conduct an unlimited number of 'fast-track' logging projects on over 45 MILLION acres of National Forest nationally – and on 5 MILLION acres of National Forests in Montana. This public lands logging would all be 'categorically excluded from the requirements of NEPA.’