(PRWEB) September 11, 2012
Dear President Obama:
As an advocate of the 10 million family woodland owners in the United States, I want to thank you for recognizing the need to provide America's wildland firefighters with health insurance benefits.
Family forest owners, who own more forests than the federal government or private industry, rely on the brave men and women in wildland fire to protect our family treasure--not gold or silver but the land and trees that help support our families, clean our air and water, provide homes for wildlife, recreational opportunities for Americans and generate the wood products we all use every day. Families work hard to keep America's forests healthy and reduce wildfire risks but sometimes, especially in these current drought-stricken conditions, we need wildland fire fighters to protect our woodlands.
Recognizing the service of wildland fire fighters by giving them health insurance benefits is a good start, but we hope you'll consider doing more to keep them safe, by helping us keep America's forests healthy.
In particular, we call on you and your administration to support the two key policies which will help create more fire-resilient family woodlands, and therefore help reduce the risk to America's wildland fire fighters:
1) Leverage investments of woodland owners through education, technical assistance, and cost-share programs to help more families complete wildfire risk reduction projects on the landscape;
2) Strengthen markets for wood products by better recognizing wood as a green and biobased material in federal government building and energy policies. With strong markets, family woodland owners will have the needed resources to reinvest in management activities on their land such as thinning and prescribed burning, which will help reduce wildfire risk.
Again, thank you for your strong leadership to protect America's wildland firefighters and we look forward to continuing to work with you to keep them safe and out of harm’s way by improving the health of America’s forests.