Senators: fed fire system 'broken'

Senators: fed fire system 'broken' »Play Video
A helicopter makes a drop while battling the Beaver Creek Fire on Saturday, Aug. 17, 2013 north of Hailey, Idaho.(AP Photo/Times-News, Ashley Smith)
BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) -- Sen. Ron Wyden, chairman of the United States Senate's energy committee, put it blunty.

"The fires that are ripping through the West are proof that the federal government's policy for fire prevention is broken," the Oregon Democrat said Tuesday.

Wyden spoke at Boise's National Interagency Fire Center, backed by the two senators from Idaho -- Republicans Mike Crapo and Jim Risch.

They say the fix requires collaboration from a deeply divided Congress.

At the same time, they praised the efforts of fire managers and fire crews.

With longer fire seasons the new normal, the three senators said the forest service must stop spending money budgeted for fire prevention on fire fighting and they urged Congress to approve plans to thin forests of old growth timber...which has served as fuel for the raging forest fires.