May 20, 2014

Wyden Praises Move to Bolster Federal Firefighting Airtanker Fleet

Washington, D.C. – Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., today expressed support for the U.S. Forest Service’s addition of four aircraft to its firefighting fleet at the start of what is expected to be a dangerous year for wildfires.

“Fire season is already here.  Devastating wildfires are ripping through California, and up the coast drought dangerously dries out much of southern Oregon,” Wyden said. “The administration’s deployment of these next-generation air tankers is crucial for this and future fire seasons and will give invaluable aid to the firefighters on the ground.  I will continue to work hard with my colleague Senator Crapo to pass our wildfire funding bill that would treat wildfires like the natural disasters they are.”

Wyden and Crapo introduced the Wildfire Disaster Funding Act (S. 1875) last year to fund wildfires from the same disaster account that funds other natural disaster relief efforts. The administration included the Wyden-Crapo proposal in its fiscal year 2015 budget proposal.  

Sens. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., and James Risch, R-Idaho, also cosponsored the bill. Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, and Rep. Kurt Schrader, D-Ore., are sponsoring the House companion bill.