PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Wildfires have already burned more than 2 million acres this year — a staggering number much higher than last year — and our season hasn’t even started for Oregon and Washington.
Data shows that there is a 400% increase in wildfires this year, drawing enough concern from Washington Senator Maria Cantwell that she decided to write a letter to President Donald Trump demanding action. (Read the letter at the bottom of this article)
“We need to get serious about fixing the fire-borrowing now and investing in our forest,” Cantwell said at the 2017 American Forest Resource Council meeting. “The president should understand the science behind our national forest and the science today is telling us that we are seeing record fires already and we aren’t even in the big aspects of fire season yet, so it’s time to act, listen to the science.”
Travis Joseph with the AFRC agrees.
“We need to invest in our forest to create jobs and improve forest health and resiliency and I think [Cantwell] is spot on,” Joseph said. “I think the federal government needs to look into the investments into these land management agencies for an opportunity for tax payers, as an opportunity for the U.S. Treasury, an opportunity to improve the management of public lands.”
After many active wildfires in the Pacific Northwest, Cantwell wants to make sure we are working on preventing forest fires and not finding money after the damage is done.
Cantwell said sometimes it’s hard to get those on the east side of the United States on board with what is happening on the West Coast. The magnitude of a wildfire is sometimes hard for them to imagine.
“We are very concerned the catastrophic nature of fire in the past several years is going to continue, so don’t reduce the fire budget, invest in reducing fuel in our forest,” Cantwell said.