For Immediate Release
July 11, 2012
Ann Walker (720) 897-4539
DENVER -- Western Governors sent a letter today to Congressional leaders requesting they ensure firefighters battling wildfires across the nation have the resources they need to protect lives, natural resources and property. They also urged Congress to fund the critical restoration work that will be needed after the fires have been extinguished.
"One of the most urgent needs will be soil stabilization and erosion control in watersheds that provide municipal water supplies," the governors said regarding post fire recovery.
"We express our heartfelt condolences to families who have lost loved ones during this challenging fire season and our deepest gratitude to those men and women battling the blazes," said Gov. Gary Herbert (Utah), Chairman of the Western Governors' Association.
The Governors also urged Congress to take action this year to improve the health of the nation's forests to reduce the potential for devastating wildfires. The actions the Governors recommend include:
- fully funding the Federal Land Assistance, Management and Enhancement Act's "Flame Funds" to ensure emergency suppression costs do not impact federal non-fire budgets and programs;
- taking action to address the deficiencies in the nation's aerial firefighting resources;
- ensuring completion and implementation of the National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy;
- reforming federal land management policies so they encourage and expedite active forest and land management; and
- coordinating federal, state and local reviews under environmental laws to speed up restoration work.
A copy of the letter is available on the WGA Web site at www.westgov.org.
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