Washington, D.C. – Colorado U.S. Senators Michael Bennet (D) and Cory Gardner (R) today received an update from Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, and Forest Service Interim Chief Vicki Christiansen on the impact that the fire funding fix—which they secured in this year’s omnibus spending bill—will have on upcoming wildfire seasons.
“Today, Secretary Perdue confirmed what we’ve anticipated: This will be a challenging wildfire year in the West.” Bennet said. “The bipartisan fire funding fix—which we worked on for nearly a decade and was just signed into law—will transform the Forest Service and improve its ability to prevent future fires. Now, our priority remains pressing the agency to quickly implement the forest management tools Congress provided and direct resources toward reducing wildfire risk in Colorado. As wildfires in the West continue to worsen due to climate change, it’s promising to hear that the Departments of Agriculture and the Interior are coordinating their efforts.”
“Coming on the heels of the fire borrowing fix and management reforms we worked hard to see signed into law, I welcome this type of outreach from the agencies,” Gardner said. “With most of Colorado experiencing record low snowpack and higher than average temperatures, it is shaping up to be a busy fire season in Colorado and elsewhere across the West. I appreciate the Departments of Agriculture and Interior committing to work together to speed up projects that will decrease the number of catastrophic wildfires, as well as battle the wildfires that will eventually break out.”
The fire funding fix that Bennet and Gardner secured in the 2018 omnibus bill restructures how the Forest Service pays to fight wildfires, putting an end to “fire borrowing” and providing much-needed budget certainty through Fiscal Year 2027.
A video of the briefing can be watched HERE.