McMorris Hosts Wildfire Hearing in Okanogan
(Washington, D.C.) Congresswoman Cathy McMorris (WA-05) announced today that the Forest and Forest Health Subcommittee will be holding an oversight hearing on Wildfires and Their Aftermath: Protecting Communities, Watersheds, and Wildlife. The hearing will be held on Wednesday, October 4th, 2006 at 9:00 am (start time may be changed to 10:00 a.m. to accommodate Members’ travel schedules), at the Agriplex located at 175 Rodeo Trail Drive, Okanogan, Washington.
“These fires highlight the importance of having active forest management plans in place to prevent widespread damage,” said McMorris. “We cannot prevent fires, but we do have the ability to reduce their impact through active forest management. The conditions that resulted in these fires took decades to develop and actions that could have reduced the size and intensity of the fire were not taken. Following a fire, immediate restoration work is necessary in order for reforestation and rehabilitation to be successful.”
Washington state has experienced a devastating fire season, with over 300,000 acres of land burned in Eastern Washington alone. These fires have enormous impacts on communities and the economy. They threaten property, health, and recreational opportunities and cause valuable resources to be destroyed instead of being able to be used to create wood fibre for communities, biomass for energy, and habitat for wildlife.