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The U.S. Forest Service Could Announce New Solutions To 4FRI By Sometime Next Month

pic courtesy of the Coconino National Forest
pic courtesy of the Coconino National Forest

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The Four Forests Restoration Initiative was a topic of discussion during Thursday’s hearing of the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. Arizona Senator Mark Kelly pressed the Deputy Chief of the Forest Service, Christopher French, for answers and transparency regarding the Forest Service’s decision to cancel the contract solicitation for phase 2 of 4FRI. French told Kelly in the hearing that the Forest Service plans to announce possible next steps for 4FRI as soon as next month. French told the commission, “I am confident that we will have a solution that is better than what was in the RFP in a way that will better serve industry that is already there, and attract industry to places where it’s going to last.” He added, “we’re looking to be able to announce some of that in November.” The decision to cancel the RFP further delayed large-scale thinning of forests in northern and eastern Arizona, and is the latest setback in a program meant to restore fire-adapted forest ecosystems to mitigate against catastrophic wildfires.