The Senate Natural Resources Committee held a hearing on a discussion draft bill to ensure adequate funding to fight forest fires and improve forest management.
Washington, DC – Today, the Senate Natural Resources Committee held a hearing on a discussion draft bill to ensure adequate funding to fight forest fires and improve forest management.
Collin O’Mara, president and chief executive officer of the National Wildlife Federation, said in response:
“Forest fires continue to rage and Smokey Bear is broke. It’s a crisis. The U.S. Forest Service spends more than half of its budget fighting wildfires and less and less on managing our forests for the benefit of wildlife, our natural resources and local communities. Right now in Congress, there is a window of opportunity for all interests to come together to forge a bipartisan wildfire funding fix and sensible, common sense management reforms that promote collaboration and better stewardship of our National Forest System. We commend Senators Murkowski, Cantwell, and others for rolling up their sleeves to find a bipartisan solution and we commit to doing the same to restore our National Forests as essential habitat for wildlife.”
Solving the fire funding crisis is a top priority of the National Wildlife Federation and its State and Territorial Affiliates. Just last weekend in Colorado, all fifty Affiliates of the Federation came together and unanimously adopted a resolution urging swift Congressional action. With more than half of the Forest Service budget going towards fighting fires, critical habitat and watershed restoration projects, which support abundant fish and wildlife populations and often increase access for sportsmen and women, are delayed, along with proactive fire prevention projects that could help mitigate future fires.
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More than one-third of U.S. fish and wildlife species are at risk of extinction in the coming decades. We're on the ground in seven regions across the country, collaborating with 52 state and territory affiliates to reverse the crisis and ensure wildlife thrive.