MIL-OSI USA: NEW LANDMARK BILL TO FIGHT WILDFIRES: Harder Introduces First of its Kind Bill to Address the Wildfire Crisis

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Source: United States House of Representatives – Congressman Josh Harder (CA-10)

WASHINGTON – Rep. Josh Harder (CA-9) and Reps. Scott Franklin (FL-18) and Joe Neguse (CO-2) have introduced a first-of-its-kind bill to modernize how the United States combats the wildfire crisis. Rep. Harder has been working on this comprehensive package for almost a year alongside wildfire experts, firefighting agencies, and members of both parties. This landmark bill will be the first time the federal government has taken an all-the-above approach to dealing with the wildfire crisis by modernizing existing fire prevention efforts and responding directly to the needs of firefighters, wildfire experts, and public health officials.

The Modernizing Wildfire Safety and Prevention Act takes a four-part approach to combating the dangerous rise in megafires:

  1. Combat firefighter shortages by establishing a new Middle Fire Leaders Academy and grant programs to train and hire more firefighters

  2. Retain expert wildland firefighters with increased benefits and better working conditions

  3. Improve fire response time with updated technology like developing risk maps and establishing the Joint Office of Fire Environment Center

  4. Address the public health crisis caused by wildfire smoke by establishing a nationwide real-time air quality monitoring and alert system 

“Last week a wildfire came within a mile of my home. More than 14,000 acres burned and 400 firefighters risked their lives to contain it. We no longer have a wildfire season in California – it’s a year-round crisis. We cannot wait another day to tackle this threat,” said Rep. Harder. “Alongside our bipartisan partners, we’ve put together a first-of-its-kind, comprehensive bill to finally fight this crisis head-on. Our families and our communities are counting on us to get this bill passed.” 

“As a father of a wildland firefighter, I’m pleased to join Reps. Harder and Neguse to modernize and innovate our approach to wildfire management,” said Congressman Franklin. “This comprehensive package will invest in new wildfire mitigation technologies and ensure permanent solutions to current and future workforce challenges.”

“From Colorado to California, wildfires have become a pervasive issue across the West – and with these disasters taking place year round, it’s time for a bold approach to equip our communities with the tools they need to mitigate against the impacts of these fires. I am proud to join Rep. Harder in introducing the Modernizing Wildfire Safety and Prevention Act, and commend him for introducing a legislative proposal that truly invests in wildfire mitigation and resiliency, our wildland firefighting workforce, and helping communities recover,” said House Assistant Minority Leader Joe Neguse.

“We’re in a wildfire crisis and each year our fire seasons only intensify,” said Rep. Thompson. “This legislation is an opportunity to address the impacts of these blazes head-on. I appreciate Rep. Harder’s leadership on this critical bill and I’m proud to join him and a bipartisan group of my colleagues to introduce much-needed legislation to support firefighters and help keep communities safe.”

The Modernizing Wildfire Safety and Prevention Act was written in response to the independent Wildland Fire Mitigation and Management Commission’s 148-page report recommending policies to end the wildfire crisis. Reps. Greg Stanton (AZ-4), Mike Thompson (CA-4), John Garamendi (CA-8), and Val Hoyle (OR-4) are also original co-sponsors of this bill.

A one-pager on the Modernizing Wildfire Safety and Prevention Act is available HEREand the full bill text is available HERE.

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MIL OSI USA News