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Senators Wyden, Manchin press for more prescribed burns with bill

Brian Bull
A prescribed burn is carried out on the Reasoner Wildlife Preserve near Eugene in October, 2021.

Prescribed fires would become standard measures against larger, more destructive wildfires under legislation sponsored by Oregon Senator Ron Wyden and Joe Manchin of West Virginia.

The National Prescribed Fire Act of 2021 would establish $300 million each for the U.S. Forest Service and Department of the Interior, to plan and carry out controlled burns on government and private lands.

U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, on a congressional YouTube livestream.

Oregon Democrat Ron Wyden says his bill would also encourage and train wildland firefighters to become prescribed fire practitioners.

“To make sure that controlled burns are carried out during the proper conditions, under the proper supervisions with wildland firefighters at the ready, we’re putting a special focus on all those aspects, of conducting the prescribed burns in a way to save property and protect lives.”

The legislation had a hearing last month in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Supporters include the National Association of State Foresters and the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Indians of Oregon.

Copyright 2021, KLCC.

Brian Bull joined the KLCC News Team in June 2016. In his 25+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (19 regional), the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.