Congressman Doug LaMalfa invited Vice President Mike Pence, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, and U.S. Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen to California to understand how the severe lack of planning, personnel and equipment has led to extreme wildfire damage. Widespread lightning strikes and the recent heatwave sparked over six hundred fires across the state, including the August Complex, North Complex and Loyalton Fire in California’s First District.
“Firefighters have been heroic in their efforts to protect California from disaster, but they need immediate help,” LaMalfa said. “Despite being aware that this fire season would be active, our firefighting personnel and equipment were too quickly drained. A severe lack of resources has even left several fires with limited staffing for days. I invited Pence, Perdue and Christiansen to visit California and help find short and long-term solutions to ensure that fires of this number and magnitude do not continue to burn catastrophically year after year. We must give our firefighters whatever support they need to continue extinguishing fires and protecting our homes, public lands, and private timber lands from even more disaster.”
LaMalfa has actively supported various measures to bring immediate wildfire relief to California. Most recently, LaMalfa supported California Governor Gavin Newsom’s request for a disaster declaration for several Northern California counties. He also co-introduced H.R. 7978, the Emergency Wildfire and Public Safety Act with Congressman Jimmy Panetta that would streamline forest management projects in the West, train a new generation of forestry professionals and firefighters, clear California’s 150 million dead and dying trees, incentivize biomass collection, expedite permitting for the installation of wildfire detection equipment, expand the use of satellite date to assist wildfire response and retrofit homes and buildings with wildfire resilient materials.