Many argue that the threat of severe wildfires has grown
in recent years, because of excessive forest fuels and an increasing number of homes in or near
forests. In 2003, President Bush proposed a Healthy Forests Initiative, with numerous regulatory
changes to expedite fuel reduction activities. The 108th Congress enacted the Healthy Forests
Restoration Act of 2003 to provide an expedited process for fuel reduction activities and other
related programs, and the Southwest Forest Health and Wildfire Prevention Act of 2004 to fund
research and promote adaptive management in Ponderosa pine forests. This report summarizes
congressional action through 2004, and will not be updated.