Jul 9, 2015

To Fight Fires, Start with Prevention

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Washington, D.C. – House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA-23) released the following statement on House passage of H.R. 2647, the Resilient Federal Forests Act:

“The west commonly faces wildfires that destroy communities and upend the lives of families. These fires have devastating impacts not only to wildlife, but also release significant amounts of pollution into the air we breathe and close down recreational opportunities and public access to our national forests, sometimes for years. My constituents in California’s Central Valley feel the impact of these fires ever year from the homes burned in our mountain communities, to the smoke and ash in our towns, to the recreational areas destroyed. 

“Current forestry management policies to prevent and respond to these natural disasters are inadequate. For instance, when the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management run out of money to fight fires, they cover the difference by taking money from other programs, oftentimes ones that are used for forest fire prevention. This leads to a cycle where more needs to be done to fight fires because less has been done to prevent fires in the first place.

“The Resilient Federal Forests Act stops this cycle by providing access to more funding toward fire suppression and protecting other Forest Service prevention programs during wildfire disasters, all while staying within the limits set by the Budget Control Act. And to restore our forests after wildfires, the bill allows dead tree removal to undergo expedited environmental reviews, which leads to faster reforestation and less fuel to spark new fires. With healthy forests, California, and every state that faces forest fires, will be able to breathe a little easier.”

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