April 11, 2022

In the Wake of Historic Wildfires In His District, Congressman Neguse Calls for Floor Consideration of His Bills to Fund Suppression and Resiliency

Washington D.C.— Today, Congressman Joe Neguse, joined by Representatives Panetta (D-CA), Bonamici (D-OR), Lofgren (D-CA), Huffman (D-CA), McNerney (D-CA), and Thompson (D-CA) sent a letter to Democratic House Leadership urging swift consideration of wildfire suppression and resiliency legislation in the wake of historic and destructive Colorado wildfires. Congressman Neguse last week spoke on the House floor in an impassioned speech urging action to address western wildfires. View here. 

The Marshall Fire that burned through Louisville and Superior on December 30th, destroying 1,084 homes was the most destructive wildfire in 2021 nationwide. The Marshall Fire follows the Cameron Peak and East Troublesome Fires, the first and second largest in Colorado history, both burning in Congressman Neguse’s district simultaneously, along with the Calwood Fire and NCAR Fires. 

“Some of the most historic and most destructive wildfires have burned in my district over the last 18 months. Enough is enough. For my community, we are no longer witnessing wildfire seasons, but instead wildfire years. Fires are burning in August, in December, in March. Our communities are under threat by worsening, more dangerous, unrelenting wildfires 365 days a year,” said Congressman Joe Neguse, Co-Chair of the Bipartisan Wildfire Caucus. “Our communities are looking to us for action, which is why the Congress must move swiftly to consider any number of common-sense wildfire prevention proposals to support our wildfire personnel and protect our communities. We have to respond. We must, before the next historic fires takes more lives, burns more homes, and destroys more of our lands and forests.” 

Specifically the letter calls for consideration of Congressman Neguse’s:

  • Wildfire Recovery Act, which would increase federal support available to communities in the aftermath of a wildfire-specifically allowing for an increase in the federal cost share for the Fire Management Assistance Grant (FMAG) program. This bill passed on a bipartisan basis out of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee recently;
  • Western Wildfire Support Act, which would support wildfire prevention, suppression, and recovery efforts. The bill directs the creation of fire management plans for federal land and funding to increase mitigation activities prior to a disaster; establishes a grant program to help with the acquisition of state of the art firefighting equipment; and provides additional funding to support communities in recovery; and 
  • Tim Hart Wildland Fire Classification and Pay Parity Act, comprehensive legislation to overhaul federal firefighter pay, benefits and classification. Every major wildfire in our country relies on federal wildland firefighters and the vital services their specialized crews provide to protect life and property. Tim's Act will bring wages and benefits closer to parity with other firefighting agencies and will provide resources to support the unique mental, emotional, and physical challenges faced from increased wildfire intensity, duration, and frequency. The bill is named after Tim Hart, a smokejumper from Cody, Wyoming who lost his life on May 24, 2021 while working on the Eicks Fire in New Mexico.

Read the letter HERE.