O'Halleran, Curtis Introduce Bipartisan Wildfire Mitigation Bill
WASHINGTON—Today, Representatives Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ) and John Curtis (R-UT), members of the Bipartisan Wildfire Caucus, introduced the Wildland Fire Mitigation and Management Commission Act of 2021, bipartisan and bicameral legislation to establish a commission of federal and non-federal stakeholders—including city and county level representation—to study and recommend fire prevention, mitigation, management, and rehabilitation policies for forests and grasslands.
Senators Mitt Romney (R-UT) and Mark Kelly (D-AZ) introduced companion legislation in the Senate last week.
“This year’s fire season in Arizona is shaping up to be one of the worst on record; several extremely dangerous wildfires are spreading without containment across the First District as we speak,” said O’Halleran. “With their homes and businesses at risk season after season, Arizona families need solutions. Our bipartisan bill to establish a commission of stakeholders to recommend fire prevention, mitigation, and rehabilitation policies for forests and grasslands will help to identify and implement these needed solutions before another deadly fire season burns more of the Southwest.”
Last year, nearly 60,000 fires burned across ten million American acres, and more than 53,000 of which were human-caused fires, according to the National Interagency Fire Council. Current federal wildland fire policy is a patchwork of legislation and agency guidance across departments and jurisdictions, further complicated by mixed land ownership. This bill would require a review of the nation’s wildland firefighting strategy, accompanied by specific policy recommendations, by a commission made up of the nation’s top experts, including state and local stakeholders.
Today, O’Halleran also sent a letter to Victoria Christiansen, Chief of the U.S. Forest Service, urging immediate federal deployment of hotshot ground crews and air support in coordination with the City of Flagstaff, as well as additional fire personnel and equipment to ensure that properties, businesses, homes and, potentially, lives are saved. View the full letter HERE.