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Energy and Environment
KUNR Public Radio is a proud partner in the Mountain West News Bureau, a partnership of public media stations that serve Nevada, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico and Wyoming. The mission is to tell stories about the people, places and issues of the Mountain West.

BLM Proposes Ambitious Wildfire Reduction Measures

Washington State Department of Natural Resources
A look at the Carlton Complex Fire, a blaze that burned more than 250,000 acres in Washington in 2014.

The Bureau of Land Management is proposing 11,000 miles of fuel breaks throughout our region to help combat the spread of wildfires.

There are different types of fuel breaks, but essentially it means removing things that fires like to burn, like grass and dead trees. The goal is to slow the fire down.

Ken Frederick is with the BLM.

"We can't really do anything about topography, because that relates to the weather, and we can't really do anything about weather," he said. "But we can do something about fuels."

The BLM says after fires burn an area, native plants are often replaced by invasive grasses like cheatgrass. These grasses burn hotter, more intensely and more often, which creates a vicious cycle and makes it harder for native species to bounce back.

The BLM proposal is part of a larger strategy of active land management, directed by an exectutive order from President Trump, and an order from Interior Secretary David Bernhardt.

Public comments on the proposal are being collected through August 5.

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