Congress OKs Bill to Cut Wildfire Threat

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Congress approved legislation Friday to reduce the risk of wildfires in national forests by speeding removal of overgrown brush and diseased trees, especially near homes and towns.

The Senate passed the bill by a voice vote less than an hour after the House approved it 286-140. The rapid-fire votes came after a three-year impasse on wildfire legislation.

The final bill, which now goes to President Bush for his signature, resembles the president's ``Healthy Forests Initiative'' and aims to reduce the threat of catastrophic wildfires by speeding approval of projects to thin overgrown forests.