Springerville, AZ (July 19, 2011) Today, Representative Steve Pearce (NM-02), chairman of the Congressional Western Caucus, and Representative Paul Gosar (AZ-01) announced a joint “Forum For Our Forest” meeting, to be held at 5:00 pm on Wednesday, August 10th at the Round Valley Auditorium, located at 550 N. Butler Street in Eagar, AZ. The meeting will focus on forest management and wildfires, especially the recent Wallow fire. Rep. Pearce and Rep. Gosar hope to hear from constituents who have been affected by this and other wildfires.
“For decades, reckless forest management has killed logging jobs and contributed to dry, overcrowded forests,” said Pearce. “This year, we have seen the consequences as hundreds of thousands of acres have gone up in flames, costing hundreds of millions of dollars. I hope that this joint meeting will help draw attention to federal mismanagement of our national forests. Most importantly, we hope to give a voice to local residents whose lives have been affected by these fires, allowing them to tell Washington that enough is enough.”
“We must re-evaluate our forest management policies at all levels of government because the status quo is detrimental to our region’s ecological health, our safety, and our local and national economy,” said Gosar. “I have been working on solutions to reducing forest fuel accumulation and proper forest management since taking office. The recent fires, some of the largest forest fires in recorded history, simply add further urgency to this work. It is time for us to be honest about the problem as well as providing the solution. I am pleased to be working with Congressman Steve Pearce, who shares my concerns and is devoted to finding solutions. I am confident that together, with the help of our constituents and all vested parties, we can implement common-sense solutions that will make our forests healthier and our communities safer while jump-starting our local economy.”
Pearce and Gosar, along with Rep. Jeff Flake (AZ-06), introduced legislation last week to expedite removal of hazardous and dead or dying trees around the Wallow Fire area. The town hall meeting will discuss recent fires, U.S. Forest Service forest management policies, and other related issues.
The Congressmen plan to tour the Wallow Fire area earlier in the day and speak to local ranchers, officials, and others. Both Rep. Pearce and Rep. Gosar have made visits to the affected area for briefings and to meet with constituents.
The event is open to the public, and residents of affected communities are encouraged to attend. Media that wish to cover the town hall meeting as well as the day’s tour of the Wallow Fire area can telephone 575-517-7382.