Home Critical engine US Senator Amy Klobuchar and a bipartisan group of colleagues call for increased funding to support firefighting efforts

US Senator Amy Klobuchar and a bipartisan group of colleagues call for increased funding to support firefighting efforts

0

2021 California Monument Fire – Engine Crew Fights Flames
Credit: USDA

March 5, 2022 – WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) joined a bipartisan group of colleagues to urge Senate Appropriations Committee leaders to increase funding for the National Guard for countermeasures efforts. wildfires in fifteen states, including Minnesota.

“Year after year, wildfires ravage local communities, businesses, homes and infrastructure in dry, western states,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter to Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Vice Chairman Richard Shelby (R-AL). “We ask that additional resources be allocated to the National Guard to train these members to do the essential work of protecting our communities. Proper training and equipment are critical this wildfire season and with continued National Guard funding, the states of Alaska, California, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky , Mississippi, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wyoming can rest assured knowing that the most appropriate steps have been taken to protect their communities and their interests. »

Last July, more than 12,200 firefighters and support personnel, including members of the National Guard, were battling 59 major wildfires in Minnesota, Oregon, Washington, California, Idaho, Arizona, Wyoming, Alaska, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah and Montana.

As Minnesota suffered from unprecedented wildfires last summer, Klobuchar joined Sen. Tina Smith (D-MN) and Rep. Pete Stauber (R-MN) in September to urge the U.S. Department of Transportation to ensure Ely Airport has the infrastructure to fight the wildfires. Last August, Klobuchar also pushed the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to deploy Air Resource Advisors (ARA) to areas of Minnesota affected by wildfires for technical support and troubleshooting.

In addition to Klobuchar, the letter was also sent by Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Roger Marshall (R -KS), Alex Padilla (D-CA), John Hickenlooper (D-CO), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) and Ron Wyden (D-OR).

The full text of the letter is available HERE and below:

Dear President Leahy and Vice President Shelby:

We are writing to urge you to provide strong funding to the National Guard to support firefighting efforts in communities across the country, especially in western states affected by wildfires in the final draft defense appropriations bill for fiscal year 2022.

Year after year, wildfires ravage local communities, businesses, homes and infrastructure in dry, western states. We call for additional resources to be allocated to the National Guard to train these members to do the essential work of protecting our communities. Proper training and equipment are critical this wildfire season and with continued National Guard funding, the states of Alaska, California, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky , Mississippi, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wyoming can rest assured knowing that the most appropriate steps have been taken to protect their communities and their interests.

In 2021 alone, wildfires destroyed 6.8 million acres of land. As state and federal agencies struggle to deal with the annual devastation from wildfires, the support of National Guard members has been essential. In 2021, this funding trained more than 30,000 National Guard members to fight wildfires and protect communities across the country. This critical firefighting capability requires continued congressional support to maintain.

As you finalize the FY22 defense appropriations bill, we urge you to include strong funding for wildfire training. It is critical to the National Guard’s ability to protect communities from wildfires. Please consider this request.
Source: Senator Amy Klobuchar