May 16, 2022

Cortez Masto Announces $20 Million in Funding for Nevada Program to Prevent Wildfires

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) announced that $20 million is headed to the Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE), in partnership with University of Nevada, Reno, the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and the Desert Research Institute, to fund wildfire prevention research and workforce development throughout the state. This project is funded by the Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) program, which helps states like Nevada that receive less than their fair share of research funding. Senator Cortez Masto is working to drastically expand EPSCoR in the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act.

“Nevada is facing another summer of intense fire danger, and we need to be doing all we can to combat this threat,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “The funding I helped advocate for will dramatically expand Nevada’s wildfire prevention efforts, improve land management practices across the state, and train new wildfire experts. I’ll continue working to deliver robust federal resources to help combat wildfires in our communities and prevent them before they spark.”

The partnership of Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE), the University of Nevada, Reno, the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and the Desert Research Institute will receive $20 million over the next 5 years to fund wildland fire research, education, and workforce development programs that will help the state improve land and fire management and train new firefighters and researchers. This project will increase the capacity of Nevada for wildland fire research, education, and workforce development and demonstrate this increased capacity through technology-enhanced fire science in the regionally important sagebrush ecosystem.

Senator Cortez Masto is a champion in the Senate for Nevada firefighters and has led federal efforts to combat devastating wildfires. The senator helped secure over $3.4 billion for wildfire prevention, suppression, and restoration activities in the bipartisan infrastructure bill, including $10 million she authored for wildfire detection equipment. Last year she also introduced her comprehensive Western Wildfire Support Act to help prevent, respond to, and recover from wildfires. Senator Cortez Masto has repeatedly called for the federal government to do more to support Western states affected by fire, and she regularly hosts conversations with local leaders to better understand how she can best help Nevada’s fire professionals. During her time in the Senate, Cortez Masto has consistently advocated for and secured federal dollars for Nevada fire departments in every county.