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After the historic 2000 fire season, the Andrus Center for Public Policy and the Idaho Statesman convened a conference, The Fires Next Time, which brought together fire experts, state and local officials, the insurance industry, timber executives, and environmentalists. We wanted answers to the vexing dilemma: how to change policy to begin to prevent these almost annual catastrophic fires. Those discussions brought a remarkable degree of consensus. Everyone agreed that we must shift from a federal policy that reacts to fire to one that adopts proactive measures to reduce fire threats to western communities. Three years later, it is painfully obvious that progress on change has been glacially slow.

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