US releases environmental analysis of plan to stop fires

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Federal officials have released a draft environmental analysis for a proposal intended to stop rangeland wildfires in a huge swath of the West that hosts cattle ranching and recreation and is home to imperiled sage grouse.

The analysis released Friday looks at the impact of altering or removing vegetation on strips of land up to 165 yards (150 meters) wide and up to 11,000 miles (18,000 kilometers) long in Idaho, Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada and Utah.

The draft released by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management follows the agency’s 2017 announcement that it planned the review.

Fuel breaks can cost from $12,000 to $44,000 a mile.

BLM spokesman Ken Frederick says there’s no cost estimate yet because it’s not yet clear what types of fuel breaks field managers might choose.

Critics say the work fragments habitat and harms wildlife.

Public comments on the analysis are being taken until early August.

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