Following the devastating wildfires in California, the House was motivated to pass a bill that expedites the approval process for logging to eliminate wildfires. In the past, environmental protections and regulations required a more complex approval process to protect forest-thinning problems. House Republicans voted 232-188 in favor of making a more efficient process, and now the bill will be passed to the senate. In this article, we’re going to cover the basics of the bill and how it can affect Firefighting Operations.
Nervous about whether these regulations set on federal land would result in more devastating fires nationwide, the House jumped to action last month. This bill is passed to the senate in hopes that it can stop forest fires before they begin.
On one side of the issue, republicans have shared the timber industry’s laments for how difficult it was to reduce fire risk because of environmental laws that prevent tree cutting. However, democrats and environmentalists work to protect the natural environment and habitats for wildlife without cutting down too many trees.
According to Fire Rescue 1, the GOP bill is one of at least three being considered in Congress to address wildfires and solve a longstanding “fire borrowing” problem that forces officials to take funds from fire prevention programs to put out increasingly dangerous wildfires. The legislation comes as the Forest Service and other federal agencies spent a record $2.9 billion battling forest fires in one of the nation’s worst fire seasons. Wildfires have burned nearly 9 million acres across the country, with much of the devastation in California, Oregon and Montana.
Reportedly, 43 citizens died as a result of the wildfires in California and Oregon. Consequently, firefighters have deceased, as well, in surrounding states including Montana.
Without making it a political stance, experts believe that planned burning, removal of brush and chopping of dead trees can minimize the chance of wildfire, which in remote areas, can decimate thousands, if not millions, of acres of wildlife in an instant.
The biggest hurdle to passing this law, however, is a threat of violating the National Environmental Policy Act and the Endangered Species Act.
As new developments arise, we’ll keep the industry posted. As this law potentially affects firefighters, their jobs and funding for their departments, we understand the implications of such law. Once the bill has been reviewed by the senate, we’ll post another article.
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