Fresh off his success in passing the Great American Outdoors Act which was signed by President Trump on Tuesday, Senator Steve Daines resumed work on yet another Forest Management bill along with California Democrat Dianne Feinstein.
The bill is called the Emergency Wildfire and Public Safety Act of 2020, and with the fatal fires that have occurred in California and that have destroyed millions of acres of Montana forests, Daines explained the bill.
“It’s about addressing the four ‘W’s’, wildfires, wildlife, watersheds and workers,” said Daines. “That’s an easy way to remember it with the four W’s. And I also want to give a shout out to so many groups that have been working with us in support of this legislation. These would be wildlife conservation groups included as well as the county commissioners, as well as those in the in the timber industry, who are who are supportive of this bill.”
Daines said a large number of wildfires break out near roads and power transmission lines, and this bill targets those areas of concern.
“It’s going to cut red tape,” he said. “It’s going to reduce the fire risks associated along roads and transmission lines. In fact, 90% of fires originate within a half mile of a road. Many of you remember just last year a year ago that North Hills fire just outside of Helena. I remember spending time on that fire line as it burned thousands of acres. Well, there’s an example of a fire that began less than 100 yards from the road and 90% of fires originate within a half mile of a road. Let’s focus on reducing the fire risk alongside roads and transmission lines, and that’s what this bill does.”
Daines also pointed out that litigation is a pernicious problem when it comes to wildfires.
“It also reduces frivolous litigation,” he said. “It also establishes a workforce development program grant program to incentivize these forest sector jobs. In a Congress that is oftentimes very divided, we have a Democrat from California, working alongside a Republican from Montana, and I just want to again give compliments to Dianne Feinstein for her resolve to get something done here, and we were able to get a bill officially introduced yesterday.”