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Hutchison: Mismanagement has worsened Washington fires

Susan Hutchison. (KIRO 7)

Where there’s smoke making its way across Washington, there is forest mismanagement. That’s the message from for Washington state GOP chair and current Republican candidate for senator, Susan Hutchison.

“I think a lot of us city slickers think that the only answer is what extreme environmentalists have told us, which is: ‘Hands off our federal forests, don’t let any human beings near them,'” Hutchison told The Jason Rantz Show. “But that’s not what a healthy forest looks like. A healthy forest is taken care of; it’s stewarded, like a garden.”

Hutchison points to the Yakama tribe as a great example of a forest being taken care of.

“They have healthy, burdened forests. And right next to them are the federal forests that are full of beetles, bugs, and decay, and they are ripe for forests fires.”

RELATED: Susan Hutchison: ‘The Democrat party is no friend of small business’

Hutchison came in second behind Dow Constantine in the 2009 election for King County Executive, and later served as state Republican Party chair from 2013 until a just few months ago. At the time, her departure was seen as a sign she might be appointed to a position in Trump’s administration. Instead, she opted to challenge Democratic Senator Maria Cantwell.

Intelligent logging can help prevent fires

She doesn’t believe that forest fires can be prevented in the case of anomalies like lighting, but that we can control how bad those fires get and how long they burn by not allowing the forests to reach a state of kindling.

Specifically, there are techniques that good logging can create, Hutchison says, including the clearing out of dry underbrush with dead trees that threaten the live ones.

“There is no more sustainable industry in the country than logging,” Hutchison said. “Because they know that if they don’t replant, we’re not going to have any logging in the future. One of the interesting facts about forestry is that a growing forest absorbs a lot more carbon dioxide than a mature forest. We should have growing forests all around us.”

“Our extreme environmentalists have really been the tail that wags the dog for several decades. We cannot allow them to run our lives anymore.”

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