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Bob Larson Wildfire Bill Moves to Senate Pt 2
by Bob Larson, click here for bio

Program: Washington State Farm Bureau Report
Date: November 13, 2017

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I’m Bob Larson. The push forward continues as the Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2017 moves from the House to the Senate with hopes of creating a more efficient system for preventing and fighting catastrophic wildfires like we’ve seen the past few summers.

Representative Dan Newhouse of Sunnyside co-sponsored House Resolution 2936 and says besides reducing much of the red tape, finding the money has been a challenge …

DAN NEWHOUSE … “It also tries to address some of the funding issues as well. As you know, fire borrowing has been a tremendous problem. The Forest Service this year spent over half their budget on fighting fires which took a lot of resources away from the necessary management functions, management needs of keeping these forests in better shape to prevent the catastrophic nature of these fires.”

Newhouse says another barrier has been that we don’t currently classify wildfires as natural disasters …

DAN NEWHOUSE … “But we should consider these catastrophic fires to be a natural disaster just like a flood or a hurricane or a tornado. So, that’s exactly what we’re trying to do is free up some of the Forest Service funds so that they can use them for the management side and then some of the firefighting costs be borne by the emergency funds that would be available to the other kinds of natural disasters as well.”

Newhouse says the bill is getting a lot of attention as it now heads to the Senate, but he’s optimistic that they can get this legislation complete this session.

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