Can't see the forest for the skyscrapers


The last time anybody looked, no national forests grew in Washington, D.C., so why should the city get almost $3 million in stimulus funds to fight wildfires? Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso and other Western representatives are wondering, because their region is home to most national forests and the super-expensive wildfires that sweep through, destroying homes and killing firefighters. “The last major fire in D.C. was likely lit by British troops in 1814,” Republican Sen. Barrasso told The Associated Press. “There are many wasteful and wild schemes born in Washington, but this takes the cake.”

Well, not exactly, says a spokesman for the Department of Agriculture, which oversees the Forest Service. While the stimulus law specifies “wildland fire management,” the term is elastic and includes efforts to promote forest and ecosystem health. A D.C.-based nonprofit, Washington Parks & People, will get nearly $2.7 million to create green jobs and improve the city’s tree canopy.

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