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August 01, 2022

Rep. Aguilar Takes Critical Action to Reduce Wildfire Threats

WASHINGTON, DC — Today, Rep. Pete Aguilar voted in favor of the Wildfire Response and Drought Resiliency Act (H.R. 5118), a comprehensive package of bills that takes necessary action to protect communities from wildfires and protect our water supplies. The bill boosts pay and benefits for federal firefighters, establishes a ten-year plan for wildfire management, advances modern water management technology and data and invests in drought-proof water supply projects.

“Wildfires have become a year-round threat, particularly in our communities, burning larger areas of land with greater intensity,” said Rep. Aguilar. “Wildfires are only expected to get worse because of extreme drought conditions. Passing this bill ensures that Inland Empire and other areas affected by severe wildfires are equipped with the resources they need to pre-emptively address wildfire risk and shore up our nation’s depleted water supplies. We cannot wait any longer to act on climate change, the health of our planet depends on it.”

The Wildfire Response and Drought Resiliency Act will:

  • Establish new pay and hiring authorities for Federal firefighters.
  • Authorize a 10-year National Wildfire Response Plan.
  • Provide $500 million to prevent key reservoirs of the Colorado River from declining to critically low conditions.
  • Invest in new drought-proof supply projects.
  • Protect and restore our delicate ecosystems.
  • Advance modern water management technology and data.
  • Provide enforcement tools to counter environmental discrimination.
  • And support measures to improve environmental justice by supporting local communities and their needs.

In 2021 alone, the effects of both drought and wildfires have cost the United States roughly $20 billion. In 2021, over 2.5 million acres of land in California were burned because of wildfires. Rep. Aguilar helped pass the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which included $84 million to California alone over the next five years to create a wildfire management plan.

Rep. Aguilar serves as Vice Chair of the House Democratic Caucus and as a member of the House Committee on Appropriations, the Committee on House Administration and the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the US Capitol.