To the editor:
On Dec. 3, President Bush signed into law the Healthy Forests Restoration Act of 2003 to help prevent catastrophic wildfires and strengthen America's long-term forest health. The legislation, based on the president's Healthy Forest Initiative, will reduce the risk of catastrophic fire to communities, help save the lives of firefighters and citizens and protect threatened and endangered species.
As a nation, we have watched helplessly as parts of America were devastated by wildfires. In the past two years alone, 147,049 fires burned nearly 11 million acres. The president understands the necessity to manage forest and rangelands to protect the land and prevent further destruction caused not only by fires, but also disease and infestation of insects. By working with Congress, he achieved bipartisan support for a bill that will not only protect endangered species, but also protect our nation's forests and nearby communities for generations to come.
President Bush, with his Healthy Forest Initiative, introduced policies to encourage public participation in the review of the fuels reduction and forest restoration projects. Ultimately these projects will thin dense undergrowth and brush in priority locations that are chosen by federal, state, tribal and local officials.
Poplar Bluff, Mo.