Nevada Democrat introduces bill requiring feds to develop fire management plan

Nevada Democrat introduces bill requiring feds to develop fire management plan
© Greg Nash

Nevada Sen. Catherine Cortez MastoCatherine Marie Cortez MastoWestern US airports face jet fuel shortage Overnight Energy: Senate panel advances controversial public lands nominee | Nevada Democrat introduces bill requiring feds to develop fire management plan | NJ requiring public water systems to replace lead pipes in 10 years Nevada Democrat introduces bill requiring feds to develop fire management plan MORE (D) on Thursday introduced legislation that would require the federal government to develop fire management plans for federal land in the West. 

The bill, dubbed the Western Wildfire Support Act, would require the Interior and Agriculture departments to create management plans for federal land that include pre-fire strategies as well as recovery plans and response management plans.

It would further direct the federal departments to more quickly place wildfire detection technology in areas at high risk of wildfires.

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The bill would also provide $100 million in funding for long-term rehabilitation projects in areas affected by wildfires and put resources toward preventing the spread of wildfire-related invasive species.

“Wildfires present an existential crisis for communities and small businesses across the West, and Nevadans cannot wait any longer for action on the federal level. I’m proposing landmark legislation to revolutionize the way that we address these natural disasters, which get worse and worse every year due to the climate crisis,” Cortez Masto said in a statement.

“Only by taking a comprehensive approach involving fire prevention, suppression, and recovery can we truly combat increasingly dangerous fire seasons and invest in the future of fire-resilient communities.”

Cortez Masto's legislation comes at the beginning of a particularly intense wildfire season. 

Numerous fires are currently raging across the western U.S., including the Tamarack Fire in Nevada’s Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest. According to the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC), the blaze has reached 43,900 acres in size as of Thursday and is zero percent contained.

Fires have spread even farther in other states such as Idaho, where the NIFC currently reports 16 fires across 178,141 acres, and in Montana, where 17 fires have spread to 99,015 acres. Oregon has seven fires, but they cover the most acreage of any state, at 516,597. California is close behind with eight fires covering 230,155 acres.