Press Releases

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, Representative Scott Peters (D-CA-50) and House Committee on Natural Resources Chairman Bruce Westerman (R-AR-4) introduced the Fix Our Forests Act, a comprehensive, bipartisan bill that will restore forest health, protect communities from megafires, and reduce catastrophic wildfires that contribute to pollution and climate change. Over 117 million acres of our nation’s forests are overgrown, fire-prone, and in need of active management — this bill gives forest managers the tools to tackle this problem.


“Wildfires are more intense, frequent, and widespread today because of climate change and over a century of poor land management,” said Rep. Scott Peters. “In California the eight largest wildfires on record have occurred during the last decade, and in just one year, California wildfires contributed more to climate change than the state’s entire power sector. Our bipartisan Fix Our Forests Act is a comprehensive approach to restore our forests and defend our communities from catastrophic wildfires. Our legislation meets the enormity of this challenge, gives forest managers the tools they need to conduct their work, and promotes scientifically backed land management methods that have been practiced by Native communities for centuries. Finally, we ensure that strong environmental protections are kept in place, while expediting the schedule of work and reducing the threat of frivolous litigation.”


"America’s forests are in jeopardy,” said Chair Bruce Westerman. “Insufficient management driven by bureaucratic red tape and frivolous litigation have turned vast swaths of our federal forests into overgrown and unhealthy tinderboxes. The Fix Our Forests Act will revolutionize the way we manage our forests and support active and responsible management of federal lands with the best available technology and science, leaving them more resilient for generations to come."


Original cosponsors include Representatives Tony Cardenas (D-CA-29), John Curtis (R-UT-3), Ami Bera (D-CA-6), Pete Stauber (R-MN-8), Jimmy Panetta (D-CA-19), Tom McClintock (R-CA-5), Jim Costa (D-CA-21), Tom Tiffany (R-WI-7), John Duarte (R-CA-13), and James Moylan (R-GU). 


The Fix Our Forests Act is supported by the National Congress of American Indians, Bipartisan Policy Center, the National Association of Counties, the Property and Environment Research Center (PERC), American Forests, the Evangelical Environmental Network, Edison Electric Institute, the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, MegaFire Action, the American Conservation Coalition Action, the National Wild Turkey Federation, the American Forest Resource Council, the American Loggers Council, the Arkansas Forestry Association, Associated California Loggers, the Boone and Crockett Club, the Dallas Safari Club, the Forest Landowners Association, the Forest Resources Association, the Hardwood Federation, Potlach Deltic, and Rayonier.


Rep. Peters and Chair Westerman are also co-authors of the Save our Sequoias Act, a bill to give land managers the tools and funding needed to save California’s iconic giant sequoias.




The Fix Our Forests Act will encourage active forest management and support community resiliency for wildfires by expediting environmental analyses, reducing frivolous lawsuits, and increasing the pace and scale of forest restoration projects. 


The bill will:

  • Simplify and expedite environmental reviews for forest management projects in the highest risk areas
  • Promote federal, state, tribal and local collaboration on wildfire mitigation while encouraging engagement with landowners and communities
  • Recognize the role that natural fire plays in healthy ecosystems – which is backed by the best available scientific information – while acknowledging Tribal sovereignty in providing for practices like cultural burning
  • Support wildfire resiliency for local communities by focusing on the built environment, innovative technologies and modernized standards
  • Deter frivolous litigation that delay essential forest management projects
  • Create a framework for interagency collaboration to advance wildfire and land management R&D, provide technical and financial assistance to communities, and support efforts by tribes and other governments to address the effects of wildland fire on communities, including property damages, air, and water quality
  • Create a federal-state-tribal framework for prioritizing projects in the forests at highest risk of catastrophic wildfire
  • Encourage the adoption of state-of-the-art science and techniques for federal land managers, including innovative methods to sequester carbon dioxide
  • Ensure that utilities are able to better work with federal partners harden their rights-of-way while mitigating hazards
  • Strengthen tools like Good Neighbor Authority – which presently excludes Tribal Nations – and Stewardship Contracting 


One-pager here.

Full bill text here.





“The devastating wildfires threatening life, property, and our treasured natural resources are a consequence of a century of misguided policy favoring fire suppression over responsible management, exacerbated by climate change. Tribal Nations have successfully stewarded this continent’s forests, and the sacred ecosystems they embody, since time immemorial through practices such as cultural burning that enhance habitat resilience. The sponsors of the Fix Our Forests Act recognize that Tribal Nations have a critical role working with the U.S. Forest Services and Bureau of Land Management to restore the health of our forests. The bill acknowledges Tribal sovereignty and provides for shared stewardship in fireshed management as well as cultural burning, and aims to safeguard Tribal resources. Crucially, the bill makes a much-needed fix to the Good Neighbor program, which presently excludes Tribal Nations that undertake forest restoration activities from an important revenue source available to states.” – Larry Wright Jr., Executive Director of the National Congress of American Indians


“BPC Action applauds the bipartisan leadership of House Natural Resources Committee Chair Bruce Westerman (R-AR) and Rep. Scott Peters (D-CA) in introducing the Fix Our Forest Act. By streamlining and improving forest and hazardous fuels management activities on public and Tribal lands, this legislation will help reduce wildfire risks, improve forest health, and protect communities in fire-prone areas. The Fix Our Forests Act also addresses critical needs to enhance the domestic supply chain of seeds and advance biochar commercialization, which will deliver substantial economic and environmental benefits.” - Michele Stockwell, President of Bipartisan Policy Center Action (BPC Action)


"American Forests applauds the bipartisan introduction of the Fix our Forests Act, which offers a suite of wildfire solutions that will not only advance new tools, technologies and partnerships needed to confront the wildfire crisis, but will also improve the transparency and accountability of urgent wildfire mitigation investments.  American Forests supports the legislation and looks forward to continuing work with the cosponsors to strengthen provisions that will help ensure our forested landscapes and communities are equipped to recover in the aftermath of severe wildfire events, consistent with our new organizational strategy Restoring America's Forests for Wildfire Resilience in a Changing Climate." – Patrick Holmes, Senior Policy Advisor at American Forests


"As the megafire crisis grows larger and more severe with each fire season, we need policy solutions that reflect the urgency and scale of the problem. The bipartisan Fixing Our Forests Act is an important step in the right direction that will improve critical fuels treatments and protect communities by responsibly addressing regulatory burdens and leveraging technology to better target and prioritize landscapes. We appreciate the process put forth by Chairman Westerman and Congressman Peters and look forward to working with them to continue improving this bill. We’re particularly excited to see the Fireshed Center established as a joint effort between the Forest Service and USGS to modernize decision support tools and the inclusion of a testbed pilot program for new and innovative wildfire prevention, detection, communication, and mitigation technologies.” - Matt Weiner, CEO of Megafire Action


“With 80 million acres of forest and countless communities at risk of catastrophic wildfire, we need to rapidly accelerate forest restoration efforts before it’s too late. These fires jeopardize wildlife habitat, air and water purification, climate moderation, outdoor recreation, and local economies. By expanding Good Neighbor Authority, fixing the Cottonwood decision, and reducing disruptive litigation, the bipartisan Fix our Forests Act from Chairman Westerman and Congressman Peters would help restore healthy forests and solve the wildfire crisis.” - Brian Yablonski, CEO of The Property and Environment Research Center (PERC)


“EEI and our member companies commend Chairman Bruce Westerman and Representative Scott Peters for introducing the Fix Our Forests Act and for their work to address wildfire risk. Our member companies are making significant investments to enhance energy grid resilience and to ensure electricity service to customers is reliable. This includes investments to limit the risk of potential wildfire ignitions. The Fix Our Forests Act is crucial to ensuring that electric companies can properly maintain and clear vegetation on electric transmission and distribution rights-of-way in a timely manner.” – EEI President and CEO Dan Brouillette


“The loss of life, livelihood, and property due to extreme wildfire sweeping through our towns and wildfire smoke choking our air hundreds of miles away has tragically become an all too common occurrence. As Christians we have a biblical mandate to take good care of God’s creation and to defend the life of all God’s children. That includes ensuring a healthy and safe environment for all. The Evangelical Environmental Network is grateful to Chairman Westerman (R-AR-4) and Representative Peters (D-CA-52) for their leadership furthering the national conversation to prevent wildfire in our most fire-prone forested lands and protect the lives and property of Americans both near and far from these firesheds with the introduction of the Fix Our Forests Acts.” - The Rev. Dr. Jessica Moerman, President/CEO of the Evangelical Environmental Network


“Managing increasingly challenging wildfire seasons requires collaboration from all parties, from community partners to the federal government. The National Forest Foundation is encouraged to see the wildfire crisis and related funding needs continue to surface with increased immediacy in Congress. We know that cooperation among all landowners – federal, state, tribal, private, and municipal - is critical to wildfire mitigation and enables all of us to move more quickly and strategically at a landscape scale.” - Mary Mitsos, National Forest Foundation President & CEO