Ron received two fire briefings last week in Oregon that highlighted the importance of his bipartisan wildfire funding reform bill.
Federal and state fire officials told the Senator at briefings in Portland and Bend that months of low precipitation and high temperatures throughout Oregon add up to a fire season that began earlier and could end much later than usual, perhaps into October.
“Oregon is less than a month into summer and we already are facing the potential of a terrible trifecta of drought, high temperatures and fuel buildup on the forest floor,” Ron said.
Praising the work of firefighters on the ground battling the blazes, Ron told fire officials that his wildfire funding reform bill with Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo is a must to end the dysfunctional cycle of “fire borrowing.” Right now, the Forest Service is forced to siphon money away from fire prevention work to pay to put out fires because the cost of fighting wildfires often goes over budget. The Wyden-Crapo bill would end the dangerous cycle of raiding fire prevention accounts to fight fires by funding the largest wildfires like other natural disasters.
The need to reform the currently broken system so that the largest infernos are funded by a separate account is especially evident, he said, as the state confronts the potential for a longer and tougher fire season.
After the fire briefings in Portland and Bend, Ron held town halls in Harney, Lake and Jackson counties. At these three most recent town halls, Oregonians spoke with Ron about Iran, the global economy and the environment.
He pledged when he was elected to the Senate in 1996 that he would hold an annual town hall in each of Oregon’s 36 counties. He has now held 740 such meetings.
To hear more about the importance of all these town halls to Ron, watch here.