Ruidoso, NM (April 2, 2013) – Today, U.S. Congressman Steve Pearce released a report he requested last summer on recent fires in New Mexico.
“Today’s report is a step toward the transparent, locally-driven approach to forest management that New Mexico needs,” said Pearce. “New Mexicans have expressed anger and frustration over the handling of recent fires, which needlessly cost hundreds of millions of dollars, destroyed hundreds of thousands of acres of habitat, and killed countless plants and animals. By understanding thoroughly what has gone wrong with fire management in past summers, we can work to improve our fire prevention and forestry policies, starting now.”
The report was sponsored by the National Institute for the Elimination of Catastrophic Wildfire, and authored by Bill Derr, who retired as special agent in charge of the California Region for the US Forest Service. The report, which was completed at no cost to taxpayers, details what went wrong with the suppression efforts of the Whitewater-Baldy Complex and Little Bear Fires last summer. It recommends that the Forest Service manage our nation’s forests in accordance with the Organic Act of 1897, review the National Fire Policy, calculate the total cost of wildfires beyond suppression, and that Congress should reform the Equal Access to Justice Act to prevent special interest groups from dictating forestry policy in an unscientific manner at taxpayer expense.
The full text of the report is available here.