After a decades-long debate, the Forest Service has announced it will end the practice of “burning” trees in national forests in 2018.
The announcement is a step toward ending a practice that has caused controversy and caused damage to communities in several states.
The agency is expected to announce the end of the use of “trees burning” in national forest areas by the end the year.
The agency said that the practice “caused significant ecological and economic impacts in recent years.”
“The BLM’s decision today is an important step toward conserving the landscape, protecting wild lands and public health, and is an acknowledgement of the critical role that the BLM plays in the health and well-being of the American people,” Forest Service Commissioner Rob Womack said in a statement.
The BLM says it will still burn wood, including in forests, and will use other methods to prevent fires in the future.
But the agency will no longer allow any other kind of forest fire.
“In recent years, BLM’s use of the term ‘forest fire’ has created a climate of mistrust and mistrust among communities, the public, and our forest management professionals,” Womak said in the statement.
“Our goal is to move forward and make this practice work, while maintaining the BLM’s role in maintaining our national forests.”
The decision came a day after a group of more than 20,000 people signed a petition calling on the BLM to stop the practice.