As firefighters continue to battle massive blazes in New Mexico and Colorado, U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell is renewing his call to restore forests to a more natural state.
Tidwell says a combination of decades of vigorous fire suppression and the waning of the timber industry over environmental concerns has left many forests subject to the kind of super-fires that are now regularly consuming hundreds of homes and millions of acres.
The plan calls for accelerating restoration programs by 20% each year in key areas that are facing the greatest danger of a catastrophic fire. Programs include prescribed fire and mechanical thinning.
This year's target is 4 million acres and the budget is about $1 billion.