U.S. House Republicans and the Bush administration are moving this week toward speeding up projects to reduce the fire threat on millions of federal acres.
Environmentalists and the administration agree cutting trees from overgrown areas or burning choked forests under controlled conditions would reduce the threat. But the two sides are split on whether environmental impact studies should be suspended before the cutting and burning happen on the 40 million acres most at risk for wildfires.
An estimated 73 million acres of national forests and 107 million acres of other federal lands are at heightened risk for major fires because aggressive firefighting has left them thick with small, flammable trees and growth.
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