More work needs to be done on federal forests to improve their health and resiliency

This week's hearing before the Senate Agriculture Subcommittee on Conservation, Forestry and Natural Resources came months after the Forest Service for the seventh time in a dozen years ran out of money to fight fires, forcing the agency to draw down accounts for research, capital improvements, reforestation and timber planning.

Two Republican and two Democratic senators attended the hearing, and they generally agreed that it’s better to pay for fire prevention than fire fighting – the opposite of what the federal government does now.

U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., called Tuesday’s hearing of the Subcommittee on Conservation, Forestry and Natural Resources in order to look for solutions to the problem.

“We need to take a saner approach, in which we put in the work on the front end, ahead of the fires,” Bennet said during the hearing in Washington, D.C.