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Jul 11, 2012 5:02 AM by Kate Richards

Hickenlooper urges fire mitigation in farm bill

DENVER (AP) - Gov. John Hickenlooper is urging Congress to keep provisions in the farm bill that he says are critical for wildfire mitigation in Western states.

The Democratic governor says in a letter to the House Committee on Agriculture that some provisions in the bill "would be very helpful in addressing the forest conditions that lead to catastrophic wildfires." The committee meets Wednesday.

Some of the areas of the bill that Hickenlooper highlighted include allowing the U.S. Forest Service the flexibility to remove trees and convert them for other uses, and allowing state foresters to perform fuels reduction on federal forest lands. Hickenlooper says he also supports identifying "critical areas" in national forests implementing thinning projects there.

Colorado's wildfire season this year has been one of the worst ever.

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