State Rep. suggests cost-effective wildfire plan
From Bob Moore Chopper 4 you see them exploding into raging balls of fire, shooting their flames dozens, sometimes hundreds of feet into the air during an Oklahoma wildfire: Red Cedar trees.
The trees were originally brought to Oklahoma after the Dust Bowl to serve as wind breaks and help with erosion.
Now the state is infested with them, they have become dangerous fuel for wildfires that feed and gain strength from the trees.
The Red Cedars are filled with dangerous sap that explodes when ignited.
When the wildfires have that kind of ammunition, it means millions of dollars in property damage and emotional heartache for devastated homeowners.
State lawmaker Richard Morissette has a proposal.
He wants to train inmates to cut down the trees.
“One of the major inhibitants [sic] of getting the trees off the land is the high cost of doing so. If an inmate leaves prison and has the skill to remove the trees, he or she will be able to themselves, not as an expert, but be able to go anywhere in the state or anywhere in the southwest and be employed cutting these trees down,” Morissette said.
Morrisette said it would cost the Oklahoma Department Of Corrections about $150,000 to train the inmates.
He also stressed only non-violent offenders would be put to work.
If you would like to voice your opinion on the plan, he is hosting a public hearing at the Capitol on Oct. 10.