Lesli AllisonLesli AllisonOctober 2, 20174min389

Tucked between the midwestern plains and the western prairies lie some of our nation’s most iconic forests. These lands comprise an incredibly diverse ecosystem, support local economies, and provide critical water supplies, recreational opportunities and sanctuary for wildlife populations. However, both our publicly and privately-owned forests are facing increased threats, ranging from insect infestation, development pressure, extreme forest fires, unstable timber markets and perhaps most threatening — dwindling forest service budgets and diminishing private land management assistance. As of this moment, hundreds of fires are burning across the West in yet another devastating fire season. It is time for Congress to act. And because fire doesn’t pay attention to ownership boundaries, the solutions must extend across the West’s complex mix of public and private land.