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House Approves Bills to Protect Fire Prevention Efforts, Honor California Firefighters

The FLAME Act would establish a separate fund to cover the costs of fighting catastrophic wildland fires.

Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, on Wednesday spoke on the House floor in support of two bills pertaining to the wildfires in California. Both resolutions were approved with broad bipartisan support.

Capps first spoke in favor of the Federal Land Assistance, Management and Enhancement Act, or FLAME Act (House Resolution 5541), which would protect funding for preventive firefighting by establishing a separate fund to cover the costs of catastrophic wildland fires when those costs exceed predicted levels.

The U.S. Forest Service currently has to pull funds from other key programs to cover emergency fire suppression costs, leaving fewer funds available for fire prevention efforts, campground maintenance and forest restoration.

“I’m proud to support the FLAME Act,” Capps said. “For too long, the high cost of fighting fires has relied on unpredictable emergency funding measures and put a squeeze on other critical Forrest Service operations, including fire prevention and mitigation efforts. This common-sense bill creates an emergency federal fund dedicated to fighting fires that is separate from the Forrest Service’s regular firefighting funding. The emergency fund established under the FLAME Act ensures our efforts to fight today’s fires don’t hurt our efforts to prevent tomorrow’s fires.”

Capps also spoke in favor of HR 1322, which commends the firefighters from California and throughout the United States for their courageous actions in fighting the recent wildfires.

“As I speak here today, thousands of men and women are putting their lives on the line to protect our wildlands and private property,” Capps said. “I am proud to say that California’s emergency preparedness systems and procedures are among the best in the nation. Thanks to the quick work of federal, state and local emergency personnel, the lives and precious property of my constituents have been protected from the threat of the Gap Fire.

“I know I speak for my friends and neighbors on the Central Coast and all Californians as we thank and honor these courageous individuals by supporting this resolution.”

Emily Kryder is press secretary for Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara.

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