U.S. Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) R-Mont., focused on fires and forest management during a tele-town hall meeting held on Wednesday night.
Sen. Daines says Montana forests have as much as five million of acres of dead or dying timber.
“One of two things is going to happen,” Sen. Daines said. “Either we're going to thin those trees out and take them and use them. Or it's going to burn. That's the two choices."
Sen. Daines also says that wildfires can not be eliminated.
"We can reduce the risk, the frequency, the severity of them by better forest management practices,” Daines said. “And it ought to be a layup. It ought to be the easiest thing. If you have dead and dying timber, why can't we go in and harvest that timber.”
Sen. Daines said that on Sept. 27, a U.S. Senate committee will hold a hearing on a bill that would reverse a Ninth Circuit Court ruling that halted U.S. Forest Service projects.
Sen. Daines visited the scene of the Lolo Peak fire late last month and said at the time, "if we don’t address the litigation issue, the frivolous litigation from extreme environmental groups -- we’re never going to get ahead of this curve."
Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) says he supports the bill put forward by Sen. Daines. Sen. Tester has also proposed legislation to create a wildfire relief fund to help mitigate the cost of fighting wildfires.