Democrats Block Fire Reform Package in Budget
(Washington, DC) – Congressman Doug LaMalfa (R-Richvale) issued the following statement after Democrats on the House Agriculture Committee blocked a fire reform package that would have reduced fire risks and reformed federal fire policy. The package contained three amendments.
The first redirected funds to prioritize initial attack on fires with the goal to extinguish all new fire starts below 10 acres in size. The amendment redirected over $2 billion to focus on quickly extinguishing new fires before they have a chance to become major fires.
The second portion of the reforms allows Forest Service to quickly do landscape wide thinning projects to reduce catastrophic fire risks. It prioritizes treating nationally to the most at risk, fire prone areas as well as clearing the way for more effective post fire salvage.
The final amendment directs an additional $500 million to restoration work for post-fire areas including for immediate stabilization of topsoil and ash to prevent erosion and run-off, salvage logging, and re-planting activities.
Rep. LaMalfa said, “When will common sense prevail in Congress? The West is on fire and the near 40-year lack of actual management has led to some of the largest fires on record. We must get serious about stopping these fires quickly before the fire receives a name and a subsequent collector t-shirt vendor. Prioritizing initial attack by providing the resources needed, extra aircraft and more smokejumpers, to put these fires out before they become national news is the most basic solution to buy time to fix our forests. This package handles both our immediate needs, increasing initial attack capabilities and helping to do post fire stabilization so we protect what is left of our forests and watershed. It also reforms the Forest Service to look at our long term needs of increasing responsible thinning to prevent catastrophic fires. To get our forest lands healthy we must actually do the work of thinning, which also has the benefit of bringing good jobs to our area and the forest products Americans need.”
Congressman Doug LaMalfa is a lifelong farmer representing California’s First Congressional District, including Butte, Glenn, Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou and Tehama Counties.