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House panel advances bill to improve forest management, fire prevention

A house panel gave preliminary approval Thursday to a bill aimed at reducing catastrophic wildfires on federal lands by better managing forests before fires and quickly restoring them afterward.... Read more»

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Feds: Despite slow start, catastrophic wildfires could heat up summer

Federal officials said Tuesday they will be “ready when fire strikes,” but raised concerns over funding for the upcoming wildfire season and the growing threat of catastrophic wildfires in the drought-stricken West.... Read more»

Hunters to House: Don’t restrict sportsmen on federal lands

Sportsmen called on a House panel Wednesday to support a sweeping proposal that they said would guarantee hunting, fishing, and recreational shooting rights on federal lands for future generations. Critics say the bill would remove environmental protections to solve a problem the doesn’t exist.... Read more»

Guest opinion

Kirkpatrick: Arizona forests need thinning

Arizona’s forests and public lands are more than just beautiful scenery. For many of us, the trees, lakes, rivers and other outdoor treasures embody our way of life. And they are part of our local economies. That’s why so many hopes are pinned on the Four Forest Restoration Initiative (4FRI), the nation’s largest forest-thinning project.... Read more»

Experts press case for forest management to head off catastrophic wildfires

The science is in and the time to act on forest management is now if the government wants to avoid more catastrophic wildfires, a panel of wildfire experts told a House committee Thursday.... Read more»

Environmental impact statement clears way for forest thinning

The Forest Service signed off on the final environmental impact statement for the Four Forest Restoration Initiative last week, clearing the way for thinning 600,000 acres of Arizona forest.... Read more»

Fort Huachuca plans ‘buffer’ against development; conservationists skeptical

A trio of federal agencies announced this week that Fort Huachuca will be part of a program aimed at preventing land development around bases, to aid military operations while protecting vulnerable environments. Conservationists are skeptical.... Read more»1

Wildfire forecast 'normal', but firefighters are preparing for the worst

The official forecast has Arizona facing a normal wildfire season, but experts say how things play out depends on conditions in different parts of the state. As weather heats up, there is potential for significant wildfires.... Read more»

Forest Service seeks full funding for fire season

The Forest Service budget for fighting wildfires has been underfunded in eight of the last 10 years, leading the agency to raid other budgets to pay the firefighting bills. It's past time to end that "fire borrowing" and fully fund wildfire programs, the service's chief testified. ... Read more»

Coronado National Forest will waive fees for Presidents Day weekend

The Coronado National Forest will waive day-use fees over the weekend to mark Presidents Day. ... Read more»

Aspen decline in N. Az leaves forestry officials searching for answers

In recent decades, the number of aspens in Arizona’s higher elevations has declined sharply. A 2001 study by the U.S. Forest Service said that Arizona has seen a 96 percent decline in aspen acreage since 1900, the largest by far among states with significant aspen populations.... Read more»

Effort to preserve Mount Graham red squirrel features annual census

Each fall, groups including the Arizona Game and Fish Department scan the slopes of a southeastern Arizona mountain for signs of the endangered Mount Graham red squirrel. ... Read more»

Game and Fish: Fewer condors with lead poisoning

Fewer California condors were treated for lead poisoning over a one-year period ending in August. While the reason isn't clear, a state wildlife official said may have to do with more hunters in Arizona and particularly Utah taking steps to keep lead out of the environment. ... Read more»

Agreement signed to protect Payson water source from wildfires

Federal, private and local agencies signed an agreement Wednesday that will help protect a crucial water source for Payson from the effects of wildfires.... Read more»

McCain files bill to replace Obama's wildfire funding request

McCain is supporting more money for the Forest Services wildfire budget, just one week after President Obama included wildfire funding as part of an emergency border request to Congress.... Read more»

Wood pile burning to begin on Mt. Lemmon

Forest rangers will be burning piles of stacked wood on Mt. Lemmon starting Tuesday. Smoke may be visible from the fires, which are part of a fuel reduction project intended to reduce the risk of wildfires.... Read more»

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