Proactive State-Led Programs Continue To Protect Forests, Arizonans
PHOENIX —Governor Doug Ducey today released the following statement regarding the United States Forest Service’s failure to award bids for the Four Forest Restoration Initiative. The administration’s decision to cancel solicitations for the Initiative, known as 4FRI, follows Arizona’s years of participation in developing the request for proposal.
“Every Arizonan has an interest in keeping our forests healthy. Clearly, we cannot and will not wait for the federal government to step up and do their part to protect our communities and address wildfire risks. Thankfully, in March, Arizona’s legislature passed and I signed legislation to promote forest health and prevent wildfires through the AZ Healthy Forest Initiative. This program utilizes Arizonans who are serving time to clear forests of debris — making our forests healthier and setting them up for post-release success. I’m grateful to Senator Kerr and Representative Griffin for leading on this legislation, and to President Fann, Speaker Bowers, Senate Minority Leader Rios and House Minority Leader Bolding for their partnership and dedication to protecting Arizona and expanding opportunities for those serving time.
“The federal government’s lack of action is frustrating. The federal mismanagement of our forests poses an ongoing risk. But Arizonans should know that we remain proactive in our pursuit of forest health and disaster prevention. We will continue to work with federal and community partners and safety personnel to protect people, pets and property.”
4FRI is a collaborative U.S. Forest service project involving the timber industry, environmental groups and public sector partners. It is designed to restore the structure, pattern, composition and health of fire-adapted ponderosa pine ecosystems, which live in northern Arizona. It is also intended to reduce fuels and the risk of unnaturally severe wildfires, as well as provide for wildlife and plant diversity.
On March 9, Governor Ducey signed legislation that creates a new partnership employing Arizona inmates to clear forests of debris. The legislation aligns with the AZ Healthy Forest Initiative, a $24.5 million proposal that builds on proven methods to protect communities, while engaging individuals in state correctional facilities to equip them with new skills and reduce recidivism. More information can be found HERE.