Forest Health took center state at a Senate Ag committee hearing last week. Joe Fox is President of the National Association of State Foresters.
“To maintain our forests as carbon sinks we can’t let them be destroyed by out of control wildfires we must reduce wildfire fuel loads in our forests.”
Fox told lawmakers that thinning forests is going to be a huge job involving treating at least five million acres every year for fuel reduction plus what’s being done now; all at a cost of about $60 billion over the next ten years.
He said besides thinning the forests, trees have to be re-planted on millions of acres already burned by wildfires. The capacity to do that right now is limited. There are not enough tree nurseries to provide the seedlings.
“We’re going to need a lot of help expanding those nurseries to meet the demand for billions of trees.”
And Fox added the USDA will need to find the workers to do all of that re-planting. The Forest Services says to cost to treat one acre to prevent fires is about $1500. The cost to fight a fire on that acre is $50,000.
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