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Senator supports legislation on Wildfire Prevention

Also sponsors state legislation to improve response to fires.

Thousands of acres of Arizona land are burning today, and it’s already looking like another long and dangerous wildfire season.Today State Senator Gail Griffin expressed her strong support for a bill just introduced in the U.S. House to help avoid these wildfires.

The National Catastrophic Wildfire Prevention Act of 2012 is sponsored by Congressman Paul Gosar. It makes a number of changes to federal public lands policies in an effort to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires. These changes include:

  • Expediting forest restoration projects on federal lands to reduce fuel loads and minimize the risk of fire.

  • Streamlining process-related delays for projects on national forest system lands.

  • Authorizing wildfire prevention projects focused on fuel reduction and protection of endangered species habitat.

Supporters of the Act realize we can no longer stand by and watch as our valuable lands burn, destroying land, endangering lives and damaging our fragile economy.

“Last year’s record fire season dramatically illustrated that our forests are overgrown and that federal policies must be reformed to enable the Forest Service to do its job,” Senator Griffin declared. “The Wildfire Prevention Act accomplishes this by allowing the Forest Service to expedite forest restoration projects to protect at-risk communities.”

“Without these thinning projects, we are going to keep seeing these monster fires like the Wallow, the Horseshoe II and the Monument last year,” says Senator Griffin. “Eight of the nine largest fires in Arizona history happened in the past ten years. Our forests haven’t been thinned properly, and we are paying a heavy price.”

Senator Griffin’s concern for the conditions of Arizona’s forests and the safety of forested communities led her to sponsor a number of pieces of legislation in the recently-completed legislative session, including SCM1001, which urged Congress to support an innovative plan to reform the Forest Service and SCM1008, which called on Congress to adequately fund the Forest Service.

Senator Griffin also co-sponsored legislation requiring the state forester to develop and implement a comprehensive wildfire deployment plan of statewide resources for wildfire suppression activities and to ensure training and certification for wild land firefighters.

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