A press release dated Wednesday July 13th shares exciting news that a bipartisan group of US Senators including Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet, Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID), Senator Jon Tester (D-MT), and Senator Jim Risch (R-ID) together introduced a bill, The Wildfire Mitigation Assistance Act to provide more funding for projects to mitigate or lessen risk in wildfire-prone communities. The uniqueness of this bill is that it recognizes wildfire in the same manner as other disasters that can receive federal funds.
The exciting news is that this bipartisan bill recognizes wildfire prevention and mitigation efforts like those of Firewise Communities and Fire Adapted Communities as being the “linchpin” to making communities and cities much more resilient in the event of a wildland fire. The bill also recognizes the importance of taking steps to prepare homes and communities before a wildfire occurs to reduce the risk of loss not only to the devastating effects of a wildland fire but also damaging floods that can follow in the wake of the fire.
The press release stated, ““The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)spends a good deal of money every year helping communities at risk of natural disasters prepare for disasters such as flood preparation for hurricanes or modification to houses in Tornado Alley,” said Crapo. “However, FEMA spends very little money assisting communities at risk of being impacted by wildfires. Our legislation would address that disparity by allowing fire-prone communities apply for Hazard Mitigation grants to undertake ‘fire-wise’ projects for homes in the wildland urban interface or reduce hazardous fuels.”
You can share your thoughts about this important bill by contacting the senators’ offices that sponsored the bill. Contact Erin McCann (for Senator Bennet) – 303-837-3808, Lindsay Nothern (for Senator Crapo) – 208-334-1776, Marnee Banks (for Senator Tester) – 202-228-0371, and Suzanne Wrasse (for Senator Risch) – 202-224-2752.
Creative Commons US Senate Image