Wildfire Prevention

(Washington-AP) -- The Senate voted Wednesday to create three institutes to study wildfire prevention and rehabilitation techniques in the aftermath of a fire season that burned more than 7 million acres.

The institutes would be located in Colorado and New Mexico and at Northern Arizona University. They would have an annual budget of up to $15 million and would focus their studies on improving the health of forests in the interior West, making them more fire-resistant.

The plan is sponsored by Arizona Senator Jon Kyl and Colorado Senators Wayne Allard and Ben Nighthorse Campbell, but still needs approval from the U.S. House.

President Bush and congressional Republicans had fought for a plan that would make it easier to log excess trees by removing some environmental hurdles, but those efforts bogged down in partisan gridlock.