Department Of Interior

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Office of the Secretary
Contact: Mark Pfeifle
For Immediate Release:November 21, 2003
Statement from Interior Secretary Gale Norton:

"I am pleased that the Congress has finished its work on the Healthy Forests Restoration Act of 2003.

"I commend the Congress for giving the land management agencies new tools to help protect families and habitat from the enormous risk of devastating wildland fires through a collaborative process.

"An estimated 190 million acres of federal forests and rangelands in the U.S., an area twice the size of California, face high risk of catastrophic fire. Years of unnatural fuels buildup, coupled with drought, insect and disease damage make our forests vulnerable to environmentally destructive fires. This important legislation will allow the federal government to begin the long restoration process."


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