Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today released the following statement after helping securing additional wildfire funding and resources in the package of funding bills passed by the Senate:
“As we continue to battle wildfires across California, I thank my Senate colleagues for agreeing to provide additional resources to combat these deadly fires.
“The funding package passed by the Senate today includes $5.1 billion to fight wildfires, a $1.2 billion increase over last year. Those funds will directly support firefighters on the ground and future wildfire prevention efforts.
“The bill also directs the federal government to use the new authorities we secured in last year’s farm bill to help expedite the removal of the 147 million dead and dying trees in California’s forests.
“Today, several wildfires continue to burn throughout California, endangering homes and lives. At the same time, the state is still recovering from last year’s historic wildfires, including the Camp Fire that killed 85 people and destroyed 14,000 homes. With hurricane force winds, I’m afraid this year’s wildfires could be just as devastating.
“Wildfires are getting worse and worse due to climate change. We must keep doing everything possible to stop the wildfires burning today, but we also have to take steps to prevent future fires. This bill ensures we’ll have the resources necessary to do both.”
Key Wildfire Provisions
- Wildfire Suppression: The bill includes $5.1 billion for wildfire suppression, a $1.2 billion increase from FY 2019 levels.
- Wildfire Prevention: Provides $150 million to remove dead and dying trees and prioritizes projects in national forests facing significant tree mortality, like those in California. It also instructs the federal government to use new authorities provided in last year’s farm bill to promote forest health on federal, state and private land, and continues programs that remove dead or dying trees close to homes and infrastructure, and encourages new markets for wood products to help fund dead-tree removal.
- New Aerial Firefighting Provisions: Instructs the Forest Service to find new ways to use aerial assets to combat wildfires, including the use of unmanned drones to improve decision-making and protect the safety of firefighters.
- Agricultural Effects: Provides $5 million to study the long-term effects of wildfire smoke on California’s $40 billion wine industry and look for ways to prevent it from damaging grapes.