Photo of an August 2012 wildfire, taken near the Wyoming/Colorado border. (Photo: Trevor T. Trujillo)

Wyoming’s U.S. Senators Enzi and Barrasso joined senators from Colorado and South Dakota to encourage federal officials to used the timber industry to help thin forests prone to wildfires, like the ones that raged across their states this summer.

In a letter Thursday to Agriculture Secretary Tim Vilsack, the senators said overgrown forests, drought, vast stretches of beetle-killed trees and more people living in fire zones have left the West at a critical juncture.  They expressed support for thinning more acres near critical infrastructure and in regions where urban development runs against forests.  The senators also urged Vilsack to prioritize timber sales.

In addition to Barrasso and Enzi; the letter was signed by U.S. Senators Mark Udall & Michael Bennet (Colorado) and Time Johnson & John Thune (South Dakota).