Healthy Forests Restoration Act of 2003
From Open Energy Information
The Healthy Forests Initiative (or HFI), officially the Healthy Forests Restoration Act of 2003 (P.L. 108-148), is a law originally proposed by President George W. Bush in response to the widespread forest fires during the summer of 2002. The main thrusts of the law are to thin overstocked stands, clear away vegetation and trees to create shaded fuel breaks, provide funding and guidance to reduce or eliminate hazardous fuels in National Forests, improve forest fire fighting, and research new methods to halt destructive insects. Much of the basis for the law revolves around the overcrowding of forests due to the suppression of low intensity fires, which vary in their natural role of thinning small trees and clearing vegetative debris. The resulting build up of ground fuels and trees weakened by overpopulation (resource competition and spread of disease) pose a serious threat in some stands that can no longer be addressed through prescribed burnings. Disagreement exists concerning the role of private logging companies in thinning stands and clearing fire-breaks. The HFI also requires that communities within the "wildland urban interface" create "community wildfire protection plans." Community wildfire protection plans designate areas adjacent to communities that should be thinned so that crown fires will not directly burn into communities.