Press Releases

WASHINGTON – Today, Senator Mike Lee sent a letter to Senator Mary Landrieu, Chair of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, urging the Committee to promptly schedule oversight hearings to review federal wildland fire management activities and address the threat of catastrophic wildland fire in the West. Senator Lee expressed grave concerns about the ability of the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service to protect public safety during what is projected to be a severe and destructive wildfire season.
Along with five other Senators who signed the letter, Senator Lee explained, “One of the greatest challenges facing our western forests is the growing severity of the fire season.  Extreme fire behavior has become the new normal, due in no small part, to the mismanagement or lack of management of our public lands.  This mismanagement has resulted in the loss of property, natural resources, wildlife habitat, as well as jobs and economic opportunities in rural communities.”
The Senators urged the Committee to follow the lead of the House of Representatives, which has “already approved legislation to restore active forest management,” and act quickly on this urgent matter. “Given that this fire season is off to an early and destructive start, it is critical that the Committee hear from the land-management agencies and examine and evaluate the agencies’ capacity to respond appropriately to wildfires, reduce fire risk to communities, and improve forest, watershed, and rangeland health.”
These oversight hearings represent the crucial first step in advancing “national forestry, rangeland, and watershed management reforms that will reduce wildland fire risks through more active management.”