WASHINGTON — The USDA Forest Service announced it has identified a preferred approach for continuing the aerial application of fire retardant on National Forest System lands. The preferred approach would map land and water areas to avoid endangered, threatened and sensitive species and would only permit aerial delivery of fire retardant into waterways when human life or public safety is threatened.

The Forest Service expects to issue its Record of Decision before Dec. 31. The Record of Decision will establish agency direction regarding use of fire retardant applied from aircraft. “This final environmental impact statement is a vital step informing our decision,” Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell said in a statement. “We’re approaching that decision as carefully as possible – we’re going to make sure we get this right, so we can protect our forests, wildlife, and the public.”

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