Congressman Blake Moore Leads Bipartisan, Bicameral FIRESHEDS Act to Improve Wildfire Prevention Efforts
WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman Blake Moore was joined by Congressman Henry Cuellar (D-TX) and Senator Jim Risch (R-ID) in introducing the Forest Improvements through Research and Emergency Stewardship for Healthy Ecosystem Development and Sustainability (FIRESHEDS) Act, which would allow for the establishment of fireshed management areas. These areas, created in close partnership with state governors, would allow the Secretary of the Interior to designate one or more landscape-scale fireshed areas within a state to conduct fireshed management projects and use advanced technologies and wildfire hazard models to reduce threats to public health, critical infrastructure, wildlife habitats, and watersheds.
“Over a billion acres of land in the U.S. are at risk for wildfires, and this is a major problem in Utah and across the West as we experience a historic drought season,” said Congressman Blake Moore. “This rapid uptick in wildfires is due to forests being overstocked with fuel, fire exclusion policies, drought, and more. The FIRESHEDS Act would address these challenges by giving our land managers the tools they need to better prevent, mitigate, and respond to wildfires. I am proud to lead on this effort at a critical time as our nation quickly responds to a major surge in wildfires.”
“Just this month, wildfires in the west and Canada burned across 13 states—covering 2,500 miles of skies with thick smoke,” said Congressman Henry Cuellar (D-TX). “My home state of Texas is decorated with over 60 million acres of forestland—but punished with over 10,000 wildfires a year. We can't afford to trivialize these relentless fires and their widespread, devastating effects. The provisions in the FIRESHEDS Act will reform our forest management practices by utilizing environmental analysis, research, and other necessary instruments for effective forest resiliency. I'm committed to protecting the landscapes, resources, and natural beauty of our country. This bill will do just that—curtailing catastrophic wildfires, restoring our wildlife habitat, and protecting public safety. I want to thank Congressman Moore for his leadership on this effort.”
“The time has long passed to slowly chip away at our forest health issues and hope the problem will improve by next year,” said Senator Jim Risch (R-ID). “Idaho is 40 percent forestland, the vast majority of which is managed by government entities, and decades of insufficient forest management have left millions of these acres vulnerable to the kinds of catastrophic fires that have increasingly become the norm in the West. The FIRESHEDS Act will provide increased latitude for governors and federal land management agencies to work together to responsibly manage landscapes to improve forest health and reduce the risk of uncontrollable and destructive wildfire.”
“Record-breaking wildfires have already burned more than 1 million acres this year, highlighting more than ever the need for active forest management,” said House Committee on Natural Resources Ranking Member Bruce Westerman (R-AR). “Congressman Moore’s FIRESHEDS Act offers a brand new landscape-scale management concept that is based on cutting-edge Forest Service fireshed mapping to identify and treat extremely high risk areas and communities. We will be able to use this legislation as part of larger solutions like the Resilient Federal Forests Act to combat years of mismanagement so Americans can enjoy our forests for generations to come. I am thankful for Congressman Moore’s leadership on this issue and look forward to passing this critical legislation.”
You can read the full bill text here.
This legislation has received support from several organizations, including: Federal Forest Resource Coalition, Missouri Forest Products Association, Colorado Timber Industry Association, Associated California Loggers, Louisiana Forestry Association, Minnesota Forest Industries, American Forest Resource Council, Southeastern Lumber Manufacturers Association, Michigan Forest Products Council, Black Hills Forest Resource Association, Intermountain Forest Association, Associated Contract Loggers & Truckers of Minnesota, American Loggers Council, Montana Wood Products Association, Great Lakes Timber Professionals Association, Associated Logging Contractors—Idaho, Associated Oregon Loggers, American Forest & Paper Association, American Walnut Manufacturers Association, Hardwood Federation, U.S. Geospatial Executives Organization, National Society of Professional Surveyors, National Association of Forest Service Retirees, Idaho Forest Group