BOISE - The U.S. Forest Service and Idaho have forged agreements for logging and restoration projects on federal land in what officials say could become a template for other Western states to create jobs and reduce the severity of wildfires.
Under the deals, Idaho foresters will administer timber sales on about 10,000 acres that the federal agency has on its to-do list but can't complete because the money for the work is instead going to fight wildfires.
So far this year, the cost of that fight has surpassed $2 billion - more than half the federal agency's annual budget.
Tom Schultz, director of the Idaho Department of Lands, said the work with the Forest Service helps Idaho by creating jobs, reducing the threat of giant wildfires and preventing the spread of insects and disease that weaken trees.
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