Member of Congress
On Wednesday, I hosted a roundtable with Agriculture Committee Chairman Glenn “GT” Thompson to address the wildfire crisis and to examine the U.S. Forest Service’s use of its fire mitigation tools and authorities. This bipartisan gathering of Committee members met with Forest Service officials to examine how the Forest Service is using (or failing to use) its Congressionally authorized powers. Congress has given the Forest Service several new tools and authorities to properly manage our nation’s forests in the 2014 and 2018 Farm Bills, as well as the more recent “Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act” and the “Inflation Reduction Act”. The Forest Service manages over 193 million acres of forested land, but much of it has become overgrown and overcrowded. The Forest Service’s own estimates put over 63 million acres of NFS lands at a “high” or “very high” risk of wildfire in 2022. The Agency only conducted fuel reduction operations such as thinning and vegetation removal on 3.2 million acres of NFS land. That’s less than 2% of their total volume and doesn’t begin to meet the volume of tree growth every year, by millions of board feet.
I brought up two of my bills – H.R. 1586 and H.R. 4831 – to ensure the use of fire retardant remains available and that federal firefighters get pay that’s competitive. We also discussed my forestry priorities for the Farm Bill including increasing rate and scale of landscape restoration and management projects; finding new markets for small diameter, low quality, or salvage wood; minimizing the risk of catastrophic wildfire; and streamlining fire fuel clearing around electrical lines and roadsides.
source: Congressman Doug LaMalfa E-Newsletter