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Rep. Ryan Zinke rips politicians ‘complaining’ about smoke in DC, blames fires on lack of forest management

Republican Rep. Ryan Zinke highlighted the need for more forest management in America, as Canadian wildfire smoke causes alarm across the east coast.

Rep. Ryan Zinke, R-Mont., called out politicians who are “complaining” about the Canadian wildfire smoke on Capitol Hill, but “won’t allow” for forest management in western states across the U.S.

“I have zero empathy for D.C. politicians complaining about the smoke,” Zinke wrote in a Twitter post Thursday. “If you won’t allow us to responsibly manage forests, you should have to deal with the consequences just like we do in the West.”

In a video standing in front of the Washington Monument that was masked by smoke, the Montana representative said the unhealthy haze is “a reminder that our forests need to be managed.”


“Whether you’re a climate change activist or denier, it doesn’t relieve you of the responsibility to manage our forests,” Zinke said. “And if you don’t manage our forests, this is what happens. So welcome to Montana, Washington D.C.”

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After wildfire smoke drifted from Canada into eastern U.S. states Wednesday, Democratic representatives immediately blamed the conditions on the “climate crisis.”

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“Between NYC in wildfire smoke and this in PR, it bears repeating how unprepared we are for the climate crisis,” progressive Rep. Alexandira Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., posted on Twitter. “We must adapt our food systems, energy grids, infrastructure, healthcare, etc ASAP to prepare for what’s to come and catch up to what is already here.”

Proponents of the environmental movement, which opposes many forest intervention methods, say that “climate change” and a warming planet “make these disasters worse.”

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“These Canadian wildfires are truly unprecedented, and climate change continues to make these disasters worse,” Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. “We passed the Inflation Reduction Act to fight climate change, and we must do more to speed our transition to cleaner energy and reduce carbon in the atmosphere.”

Many Republicans believe that to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires, forests need to be managed through logging, forest thinning to reduce fuels, and controlled burns.

The House Republicans Subcommittee on Federal Lands held a hearing in April to examine the U.S. Forest Service’s (USFS) budget request for FY 2024. 

“Over the past several years, Democrats poured billions of dollars into the U.S. Forest Service with little to no progress to show for it. House Republicans are committed to accountability and transparency for the Forest Service as we actively manage our forests, increase timber production, and reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires,” Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Tom Tiffany, R-Wis., said in a statement regarding the budget.

Fox News’ Brianna Herlihy contributed to this report.

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