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Arkansas Congressman mounts 'Full-Court Press' against wildfire risks

HOT SPRINGS, AR - After stalling in Congress for months, Washington lawmakers have wrapped up negotiations on the 2018 Farm Bill.

Some forestry provisions should make the final cut, but one measure an Arkansas congressman was pushing for will not.

U.S. Rep. Bruce Westerman, R-Arkansas, wanted to require the U.S. Forest Service to analyze what happens if states do not implement a forest management plan. The agency is currently only required to look at what happens if states do take action.

"We've seen what happens when the forest service isn't able to manage," Westerman said. "We're getting these catastrophic wildfires that just continually get worse. We're seeing more and more federal timber burn up in forest fires every year, and we're seeing these horrible fires like the one in Paradise, California."

The congressman introduced legislation Thursday that would reduce the risk of wildfires in cities surrounded by forests, called wildland-urban interfaces, the same day the devastated town of Paradise reopened to the public. 

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