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New bill in Senate aims to thin forests, stem wildfires

U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley has introduced a bill that would reduce the severity of wildfire by thinning forests that are crowded with too many trees and have become fuel for megafires.

Posted: Sep 26, 2018 4:33 PM

SALEM, Ore. (AP) -- After a summer wildfire season that blanketed much of the West in smoke, U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley has introduced a bill that would reduce the severity of wildfire by thinning forests that are crowded with too many trees and have become fuel for megafires.

The bill would create a $1 billion fund to allow the Forest Service to increase the pace and scale of wildfire reduction projects, empower federal agencies to work with local communities to plan and prepare for wildfires, and permanently reauthorize a collaborative forest restoration program that brings stakeholders together to thin forests.

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