Prescribed burn bill passes first hurdle | KOB 4

Prescribed burn bill passes first hurdle

Kai Porter
Updated: January 26, 2021 05:29 PM
Created: January 26, 2021 04:05 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.-A bill aimed at preventing wildfires passed its first committee Tuesday.

Experts say one of the best ways to prevent devastating wildfires is prescribed burning to clear out dense forests that fuel the flames. But State Forester Laura McCarthy told lawmakers there’s a problem in New Mexico.
“We have prescribed fire occurring today on federal and state lands but very little is happening on the private lands," she said. "And as you all know, fire does not respect our jurisdictional boundaries.” 
McCarthy spoke during a committee meeting-- in support House Bill 57, also known as the Prescribed Burning Act. It’s aimed at encouraging private landowners to conduct prescribed burns, but it would change the statute that's been on the books since 1882.

"It creates not only a new statute to deal with prescribed burning but also an incentive to get trained, go through a certification process, and do it right," said state Rep. Matthew McQueen.

The bill will still need to pass another committee before getting a floor vote.

"We’re hopeful that this will make it easier to do prescribed burns, and also make it easier to ensure that activity as it goes forward," McQueen said.

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