As a member of the House Committee on Natural Resources, I am committed to ensuring our public lands are managed properly and that the federal government meets its obligations in the Pacific Northwest. For the second year in a row, Washington State and the 4th Congressional District are facing the worst wildfires in the state’s recorded history. In 2014, the Carlton Complex fire broke out in Okanogan County, and at the time it was the most destructive our state’s history, burning over 250,000 acres, destroying hundreds of homes and businesses, and devastating the environment. In 2015 Washington is once again dealing with the effects of another catastrophic wildfire season – one that has already burned more than 1 million acres – surpassing the scale of the devastation experienced last year.
I have seen firsthand how our communities have pulled together to help one another during these trying times, with firefighters from across the U.S. joining the fight and volunteers from all over the state and country providing support and relief to displaced residents. Changes to federal forest management and fire mitigation policies are needed to better protect Central Washington from the devastating effects of catastrophic wildfires in the future.