Press Release of U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer
|For Immediate Release: |
May 5, 2009
Washington D.C. Office (202) 224-3553
Boxer Applauds Funding for Wildfire Prevention
Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) today lauded Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack’s announcement that more than $31 million for hazardous fuels reduction will be available to California as part of the recently passed economic recovery package. In addition, today’s announcement includes almost $4 million in funding for hazardous fuels mitigation that will be shared by California and Nevada.
Senator Boxer said, “My home state of California is home to 85 million acres of wildland and last year experienced some of the most devastating wildfires in our history, burning more than 1.4 million acres. This week is Wildfire Awareness Week in California, and I am so pleased that this timely stimulus funding will invest in projects to reduce fire risk and help Californians protect our communities and public lands.”
Specifically, these funds are part of $223 million in the economic recovery package to reduce the volume of hazardous fuels on Federal forests and grasslands and on lands owned by States, local governments, private organizations. Activities will include thinning, removal of competing vegetation, planting native species, and constructing new stream channels and ponds.
Senator Boxer introduced the Federal Land Assistance, Management and Enhancement (FLAME) Act in 2008 to establish a separate federal fund to help cover the costs of fighting catastrophic wildfires and to prevent those wildfires from draining funds meant for responsible lands management and hazardous fuels reduction. The FLAME Act passed in the House of Representatives on March 26, 2009. The legislation has since been reintroduced in the Senate, with Senator Boxer as an original co-sponsor.
Senator Boxer said, “This funding in the Recovery Act starts to address the issue raised in my bill – the critical need to prevent forest fires.”
According to the Department of Agriculture, the $31 million in California will be used as follows:
Hazardous Fuels Reduction in Sierra Nevada Range
San Bernardino, Riverside County Partners Fuels Project in San Bernardino National Forest
Regionwide Fuels Reduction/Urban Tree planting projects
Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit Partners Fuels Project
Hazardous Fuels Reduction in the Humboldt- Toiyabe National Forest $1,711,000
Airborne remote sensing/ fuels mapping in Orange County/ Riverside Counties to target fuels reduction projects