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Congresswoman Sara Jacobs Votes to Pass The Wildfire Response and Drought Resiliency Act

Congresswoman Sara Jacobs (CA-53) today voted to pass a comprehensive, bipartisan package to address wildfire, forest management, and drought issues in California and across the country. The Wildfire Response and Drought Resiliency Act will make strategic and targeted investments in water projects, wildfire suppression, and land management activities, boost pay and benefits for wildland firefighters, help the Forest Service fill gaps in fire management staff, and protect communities from catastrophic wildfires. In California, the bill would improve the air quality, fish and wildlife habitat, recreational opportunities, and water quality of the Salton Sea in Southern California and assess and monitor saline lake ecosystems like Mono Lake and Owens Lake. This legislation will help mitigate and prevent the severe consequences of wildfires and droughts, exacerbated by climate change, that have cost the United States roughly $20 billion in 2021 alone.

“San Diego is on the frontlines of the climate crisis – with rising temperatures, a worsening drought, and fire seasons that are growing deadlier every year. Across California, our worst drought in at least 1,200 years only increases the risk of severe and deadly wildfires. We need to address this crisis with the urgency it deserves,” said Congresswoman Sara Jacobs. “I was proud to vote today for The Wildfire Response and Drought Resiliency Act, legislation that will help prevent and minimize the damage of wildfires and droughts by supporting our firefighters, investing in critical land management and water projects, and protecting our most vulnerable communities.”

In addition to the passage of today’s legislation, Congresswoman Sara Jacobs and the San Diego delegation have prioritized wildfire response, securing a total of $3.75 million last week for a new twin-engine firefighting helicopter for San Diego County to combat fires in the region. 

The Wildfire Response and Drought Resiliency Act would:

  • Establish new pay and hiring authorities for Federal wildland firefighters

  • Authorize a 10-Year National Wildfire Response Plan

  • Provide tools and resources to assist with wildfire-related activities, including prescribed fire training and planning

  • Expand the role of Tribes and Conservation Corps in reducing wildfire risk

  • Provide $500 million for actions to prevent key reservoirs of the Colorado River from declining to critically low water elevations

  • Invest in new drought-proof water supply projects

  • Secure water reliability for Indian Country

  • Advance modern water management data and technology

  • Protect and restore ecosystems

  • Provide enhanced assistance for those impacted by recent wildfires

  • Improve programs at the Department of Energy, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Federal Emergency Management Agency, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and U.S. Fire Administration

  • Establish the National Disaster Safety Board

  • Direct the President to establish a National Wildland Fire Risk Reduction Program to reduce the loss of life and property from wildland fires through coordination of Federal efforts

  • Support capacity-building measures to improve local environmental conditions

  • Center environmental justice considerations at Executive Branch agencies

  • Provide new enforcement tools to counter prohibited environmental discrimination