Wyoming Governor Matt Mead’s Task Force on Forests met for the first time late last week to discuss the scope of their mission. Governor Mead says as they set out on their discussions, they asked him for some guidance regarding what he hoped to see from them in the way of recommendations and strategies to be considered by the state. Mead says, “What I told them is the Forest Service historically spends about 20 – 25% of its budget fighting fires. The last couple of years it’s looking at about 50% of its budget to fight fires; and when you are spending half your budget fighting fires, you are largely reactive rather than pro-active, and this seems like a very good time – both at the federal level and at the state level – for some good ideas to come forward on how we can be pro-active on forest health.” Mead says at the same time, he asked the task force to consider what the state sees as the mission of the forest as it pertains to the quality of life here, wildlife and the state’s economy. The task force is made up of representatives from state, local and federal government, industry, conservation groups, and forest users. Mead has asked for Task Force recommendations by the fall of 2014.