Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber said there's long been a struggle to get funding for management efforts on federal lands like thinning and prescribed burns, and Washington, D.C. doesn't seem to recognize that spending up-front on management could save money on fighting devastating wildfires. Washington Congressman Doc Hastings said, "I get frustrated by that, and every year we try to put more money in there." Long term, he said, there should be more flexibility to act on the local level. Kitzhaber said funding still is needed, as many of the required thinning efforts won't pay for themselves. He said it should be thought of as "investment in forest health."
News, happenings and more from the Idaho Legislature and the state capital.