Lawmaker says restricted logging fuels Oregon's raging fires
SALEM, Ore. (AP) — An Oregon lawmaker has lashed out at restrictions on logging, blaming them for the intensity of wildfires plaguing much of the U.S. West.
Sen. Herman Baertschiger Jr. represents Grants Pass, an area where mills have closed. The Republican said in a letter that the inability to manage forest resources due to environmental concerns is threatening the safety of Oregonians.
In the letter to the chair of the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee, Baertschiger called for a workgroup to be created to revamp policy.
John Bailey, an Oregon State University professor and forestry expert, says a lack of forest management and thinning of forests have created explosive fire seasons.
The Eagle Creek Fire, burning more than 33,000 acres of the Columbia Gorge, is one of the top firefighting priorities in the United States. Crews are also battling several other fires across the state, including the 276-square-mile Chetco Bar fire and the Milli Fire, which is burning about 24,000 acres near Sisters, Ore.