Feinstein, Daines Introduce Bill to Ensure Communities with High Wildfire Risk Qualify for Federal Mitigation Grants
Jan 24 2023
Washington—Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Steve Daines (R-Mont.) introduced the Community Wildfire Protection Act, a bill to ensure at-risk communities are eligible for federal grants to reduce wildfire risk.
Eligibility for many federal wildfire resilience grants is based on the 2003 Healthy Forests Restoration Act, which defines “at-risk” communities as those adjacent to federal lands or on a list of communities in the Federal Register from 2001. Since then, the climate has warmed and significantly expanded the threat of devastating wildfire, posing a much greater risk to communities that are not currently eligible for these grants.
The Community Wildfire Protection Act would amend the definition of an “at-risk” community to be more comprehensive, ensuring communities at high risk of wildfire are eligible for federal mitigation grants.
“Catastrophic wildfires will be an enduring threat to lives and property in the West as we face rising temperatures and other dangerous effects of climate change,” said Senator Feinstein. “It is essential that we work to mitigate the threat as much as possible and ensure that communities have the resources they need to do so. Unfortunately, communities that currently qualify for federal wildfire mitigation grants are determined by a 20-year-old list that was flawed when it was published. Our bill fixes this error by ensuring that all communities that face significant wildfire threat are eligible for federal grants to improve wildfire resiliency and can make use of authorities to expedite the implementation of those projects. I’m pleased to join with Senator Daines on this bill and am hopeful that Congress will pass it quickly to ensure communities get the resources they so desperately need.”
“As Montana and the West continue to face devastating wildfire seasons, we must find practical solutions that reduce the risk of wildfires and support healthy forests – that starts with slashing red tape and empowering our Montana communities to practice common sense forest management,” Senator Daines said.
The Community Wildfire Protection Act would ensure that all wildfire-prone communities can access federal wildfire mitigation grants, including those for developing and implementing Community Wildfire Protection Plans that allow state, local and tribal governments to work with the federal government to reduce hazardous fuels in surrounding forests. In addition, it would ensure that those communities are eligible to use authorities to expedite these projects under federal law.