U.S. House Legislators Push for Action on Historic Wildfires

Oct 1, 2021  | 2 min  | Ep4707

Cal Fire reports only two of the top 20 largest wildfires in California recorded history were before 2003. Five of the top seven started in 2020 and the second biggest one - the Dixie fire - started in July of this year. 

The federal government has been asked for assistance before and this week a congressional committee looked at the resources needed to aid in the fights happening now in the western U.S.

Josh Buettner has the roundup.

Rep. Abigail Spanberger/Chair – House Agriculture Subcommittee: “The fires are terrifying, and I stand ready to do whatever I can, as chair of this subcommittee to ensure that the Forest Service has the resources, the personnel and the tools they need to prepare for future fires and respond to the wildland fires already raging”

This week, as an unprecedented 60 wildfires scorched 3 million acres in mostly western states, the U.S. House Agriculture Subcommittee pushed their section of the proposed Build Back Better Act currently wrangling its way through Congress.

Rep. Glenn Thompson/Ranking Member, R – Pennsylvania:  “Wildfire is an emergency that we can wait no longer to address.”

The bill contains nearly $75 billion for environmental hazard and fuel mitigation, post-fire recovery plans, removes caps on reforestation funding, invests in conservation and clean energy jobs, would create a Civilian Climate Corps and improve conditions for those on the front lines.

Randy Moore/Chief – US Forest Service: “Federal wages of firefighters have not kept pace with states.  I’ve listened to stories of firefighters sleeping in their cars, or neglecting their medical bills.  We must work to improve pay and give them a livable wage.”

Amidst an historic burn season, forecasts and current conditions favor more of the same.  The University of Nebraska’s U.S. Drought Monitor reveals most of the American West gripped by extreme conditions.

And a report released this week by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Drought Task Force found exceptional drought in the Southwest has been exacerbated by human-driven global warming.  NOAA added last year up to $23 billion in economic losses, including wildfire damages, and massive water shortages could be attributed to drought which especially imperils the 60 million people in states which share the Colorado River – where a two-decade warm and dry period has baked the region.

For Market to Market, I’m Josh Buettner.

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