Western Caucus Members Send Letters to Administration Seeking Swift Action this Fire Season

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Washington, June 5, 2020 | Doug Levine (202-225-2315) | comments

Today, Congressional Western Caucus Chairman Paul Gosar (AZ-04) along with other Western Caucus members sent two letters to the Administration, one to Attorney General Barr, and the other to USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue and DOI Secretary David Bernhardt. These letters call on the administration to take swift action to fight catastrophic wildfire, as well as protecting active forest management activities from frivolous lawsuits during this fire season.

“This summer’s fire season presents a multitude of challenges to our nation’s wildfire response community,” the letter to AG Barr reads. “The combination of aggressively managing front line fire response with boots on the ground in the middle of the ongoing COVID disaster is incredibly challenging.  Living conditions on the front line of fire fighting are some of the most difficult and challenging workplaces in our nation.”

"Finally, now is the time for the most aggressive and concerted forest maintenance effort in the history of our nation," the letter to Secretarties Perdue and Bernhardt states. "Every fire break, trimming, fuel reduction effort funded and executed now, before fires break out, can be handled with more measured and safer response dealing with social distancing guidelines and respecting additional worker safety issues necessary in this new COVID dynamic."

The letters, spearheaded by Chairman Gosar, is an effort on behalf of the Congressional Western Caucus to encourage the Trump Administration to take aggressive steps to mitigate the increased risk this fire season presents. Favorable weather conditions and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic present higher levels of risk as we enter the peak of the 2020 fire season. 

The letter to AG Barr was signed by House Republican Conference Chair Rep. Liz Cheney (WY-01), Rep. Dan Newhouse (WA-04), Rep. Doug LaMalfa (CA-01), Rep. Tom McClintock (CA-04), Rep. Doug Lamborn (CO-05), Rep. Andy Biggs (AZ-05), Rep. Rick Crawford (AR-01), Rep. Louie Gohmert (TX-01), Rep. Greg Gianforte (MT-AL), Rep. Pete Stauber (MN-08), Rep. Paul Cook (CA-08)

The letter to USDA Secretary Perdue and DOI Secretary Bernhardt was signed by House Republican Conference Chair Rep. Liz Cheney (WY-01), Rep. Dan Newhouse (WA-04), Rep. Doug LaMalfa (CA-01), Rep. Tom McClintock (CA-04), Rep. Doug Lamborn (CO-05), Rep. Andy Biggs (AZ-05), Rep. Rick Crawford (AR-01), Rep. Louie Gohmert (TX-01), Rep. Greg Gianforte (MT-AL), Rep. Pete Stauber (MN-08), Rep. Paul Cook (CA-08), Rep. David Schweikert (AZ-06)

Background:

Last year’s wildfires destroyed over 8.8 million acres of land and inflicting lethal havoc on western communities. 

The U.S. has experienced increasing destruction year after year due to improper management of our forests. In the last 10 years alone, wildfires have burned over 74 million acres. 
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