In 2002, the National Forest Protection Alliance (NFPA) named the BHNF the third most endangered; nevertheless, the Forest has been "just beat to hell" after Republican donor Jim Neiman pressured officials to overlog anyway. In Lawrence County, South Dakota where Neiman is threatening to close another sawmill, increases in sales of timber have so far been deprioritized in the BHNF's revised plan.
In 2021, Wudtke testified before the Senate Ag and Natural Resources Committee in a hearing on forest management, forest products and carbon. Senator Heinrich, a New Mexico Democrat, questioned Wudtke about prescribed burns. “Prescribed fire plays a critical role in forest management,” said Wudtke. But he explained that prescribed fires are not safe in overgrown forests. The New Mexico senator responded, “That’s exactly what we’ve found in many of these places where it may cost $1,000 an acre to treat something. To maintain it with prescribed fire is dramatically cheaper so creating those conditions for healthy maintenance really sets the stage for decades into the future.” [Tri-State Livestock News]If you live in the wildland-urban interface government can't always protect you from your own stupidity. Recall the 2016 Crow Peak Fire affected mostly Republican landowners who built in the WUI and begged the feds to protect their properties—same with the Schroeder Fire in March, 2021.