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Oregon lawmaker: Restrictions on logging to blame for raging wildfires

The Whitewater Fire on the Willamette National Forest (USDA Forest Service)

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — An Oregon lawmaker has lashed out at restrictions on logging, blaming them for the intensity of wildfires plaguing much of the U.S. West.

Sen. Herman Baertschiger Jr. represents Grants Pass, an area where mills have closed.

The Republican said in a letter that the inability to manage forest resources due to environmental concerns is threatening the safety of Oregonians.

RELATED | Growing wildfires spark debate over forest management, federal funding

In the letter to the chair of the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee, Baertschiger called for a workgroup to be created to revamp policy.

John Bailey, an Oregon State University professor and forestry expert, says a lack of forest management and thinning of forests have created explosive fire seasons.

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