U.S. Forest Service chief: Federal response to wildfires must change

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In this Thursday, Aug. 26, 2021 file photo, Capt. Adam Tinker and his crew monitor a firing operation, where crews burn vegetation to create a control line, while battling the Caldor Fire in Eldorado National Forest. (AP Photo/Noah Berger, File)

In this Thursday, Aug. 26, 2021 file photo, Capt. Adam Tinker and his crew monitor a firing operation, where crews burn vegetation to create a control line, while battling the Caldor Fire in Eldorado National Forest. (AP Photo/Noah Berger, File)

The U.S. Forest Service needs to hire more firefighters and reconfigure how it mitigates the risk of wildfires that are growing more intense, the head of the agency told lawmakers Wednesday.

This year “has been devastating in not only the size and frequency of large wildfires but also in terms of sustained activity,” U.S. Forest Service Chief Randy Moore testified at a hearing before the House Subcommittee on Conservation and Forestry.

Moore blamed the severity of recent fire seasons on extreme drought, a warming climate and a century of “overly aggressive suppression policies” that have made forests ripe for more destructive fires.

About 46,000 fires have burned nearly 6 million acres across the West this year, destroying 4,500 structures and killing four federal firefighters, Moore said.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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