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In case you missed it, Sens. Daines and Feinstein have introduced the “Emergency Wildfire and Public Safety Act” aimed at facilitating active forest management to reduce the risks of wildfire and help create jobs in the West.

This important bipartisan legislation will remedy two large misconceptions: first, that forests left alone grow healthier, and second, that fighting fires (suppression) is sufficient to manage the situation. Active, intelligent forestry management is needed and Daines/Feinstein would help clear red tape and extremist litigation standing in the way.

There is a direct correlation between timber harvesting and labor income in Montana. In the 1990s, there were 30 sawmills in Montana; today, around 10. But just as important, Montana is losing its ability to manage forests for the common good, reduce fuel accumulation and wildfire risks, preserve watersheds from erosion, reduce negative health impacts from smoke, and generate income for forest landowners.

Please take a minute to let Daines, Tester, and Gianforte know we cannot continue with the loss of life, choking smoke and environmental destruction caused by wildfires. Let them know we need the jobs, timber and healthier forests this bill will promote. 

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Ray Clark