Feinstein calls on Senate to consider bipartisan wildfire preparedness bill

Senators Dianne Feinstein and Steve Daines today sent a letter to the chair and ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee calling for a hearing to be scheduled as soon as possible on their bill, the bipartisan Emergency Wildfire and Public Safety Act. The letter comes as both California and Montana are experiencing severe wildfires and the National Wildfire Preparedness Level has been elevated to Level 4.

“Our states are currently experiencing severe wildfires, which have only been exacerbated by the challenges of fighting these natural disasters during COVID-19. In California, record-breaking heat and an unprecedented 10,849 lightning strikes have caused more than 367 new fires in just a matter of days,” wrote the senators.

“Given that the National Wildfire Preparedness Level has increased to Level 4, and California and Montana are in the midst of yet another challenging wildfire season, it is critical that a hearing be held on this bill as soon as possible.”

Earlier this month, Senators Feinstein and Daines introduced the Emergency Wildfire and Public Safety Act, a bipartisan bill to help protect communities from catastrophic wildfires by implementing critical wildfire mitigation projects, sustaining healthier forests that are more resilient to climate change and providing important energy and retrofitting assistance to businesses and residences to mitigate future risks from wildfire and power shutoffs.

The House companion bill is being led by Representatives Doug LaMalfa and Jimmy Panetta.