Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) joined Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Western Senate Democrats and Ranking Members of key Senate Committees on wildfire relief and prevention in asking President Donald Trump to provide additional federal assistance to improve the response to wildfires and assist the states, Tribes and communities grappling with fires and their aftermath.
“We need to work together to fight these fires now, support communities in the aftermath, and later work to prevent future devastation by building more resilient communities, restoring healthy forests and altering the climate change-driven conditions that have led to this catastrophe,” the Senators wrote. “In meeting the immediate challenge of the fires that are already burning, we appreciate how the federal government has responded so far: federal firefighters are risking their lives to save life and property, and disaster response officials are working day and night to assist families who have lost everything. But, we can do more.”
The senators requested that President Trump: 1) quickly increase the number of fire personnel and equipment to build out capacity to respond to wildfires now; 2) ensure the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) use its existing authorities to break down unnecessary barriers to assistance for all communities, especially those in rural or disadvantaged areas impacted by wildfire; and 3) ensure FEMA is responsive to Governors’ and Tribal leaders’ requests to adjust cost-share requirements that can hinder relief efforts in over-burdened states and Tribes.
The full text of the letter can be found here.
Senator Cortez Masto recently joined a letter asking Senate and House leaders to replenish and increase funding for wildfire response and recovery and has asked the Federal Aviation Administration, U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management for an update on interagency efforts to inform the public about the dangers of flying drones near active wildfires.