June 13, 2013
This week, Colorado is tragically experiencing the most destructive wildfires in state history. Three major wildfires in Colorado are scorching thousands of acres, forcing tens of thousands to evacuate, and have destroyed hundreds of homes. In addition to the fires in Colorado, wildfires are currently burning in New Mexico, Oregon and California.
With the wildfires expected to continue due to high temperatures and dry conditions, the federal government has authorized military tankers to assist in containing the blazes.
Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources Chairman Doug Lamborn represents Colorado’s 5th district where wildfires have had a devastating impact.
"I am grateful for the quick, coordinated response from the federal agencies in helping Colorado fight these fires. These military slurry bombers will make a big difference in helping ground crews save property and lives. I will continue to do all I can to help families displaced by these fires, and help support the efforts of our local fire and law enforcement authorities," said Doug Lamborn (CO-05)
The Natural Resources committee has considered legislation this Congress to address wildfire prevention and management.
The "Healthy Forest Management and Wildfire Prevention Act" H.R. 818, sponsored by Congressman Tipton (CO), addresses the bark beetle epidemic, drought and deteriorating forest health conditions by expanding federal abilities to provide emergency measures and makes permanent “good neighbor” cooperation with states to reduce wildfire risks.
The "Catastrophic Wildfire Prevention Act of 2013" H.R. 1345, sponsored by Congressman Gosar (AZ), allows the federal government to expedite forest management projects that will help prevent catastrophic, wide-reaching forest fires.
Additionally, Chairman Hastings’ bill, “Restoring Healthy Forests for Healthy Communities Act,” lowers the future risk of wildfires by allowing for active forest management on federal forest lands. Last year, wildfires burned 9.3 million acres, while the U.S. Forest Service only harvested approximately 200,000 acres. This means that 44 times as many acres burned as were responsibility harvested.
Simply put: where there is fuel, there will be fire. Reducing hazardous fuels and removing excess forest growth through responsible forest management is the only solution to the future threat of catastrophic wildfire. The Natural Resources Committee is committed to moving these commonsense pieces of legislation forward to address this important issue.
Click Here to Read More About Forest Health and Wildfires