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Marking One Year Since Catastrophic Carlton Complex Fire, Newhouse Recognizes First Responders, Firefighters, Volunteers

July 15, 2015
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA) spoke on the House floor to recognize the efforts of first responders, firefighters, and volunteers who fought the Carlton Complex Fire, which was the largest wildfire in Washington State’s recorded history, that began one year ago this week. 

WATCH REP NEWHOUSE SPEAK ON FLOOR TO MARK ONE YEAR SINCE CARLTON COMPLEX FIRE

Transcript:

Rep. Newhouse:  Roughly one year ago, the Carlton Complex wildfire broke out in Okanogan County in my district. This fire was the most destructive in Washington State’s history, burning over 250,000 acres, destroying hundreds of homes and businesses, and devastating the environment.

Communities in the Methow Valley continue to deal with the fire’s long-term consequences and are still working to rebuild and recover.

One year later, we recognize the heroic efforts of thousands of first responders, firefighters, and volunteers who worked around the clock – at great personal risk – to fight the blaze.

I saw firsthand how the community pulled together to help one another. Volunteers provided shelter to survivors, cooked meals and unloaded trucks of relief supplies. The outpouring of support from volunteers from all over the state is a testament to the spirit and determination of Washingtonians.

We must remember the losses caused by this catastrophic wildfire, and Congress must continue to push to improve forest health to ensure that this does not happen again.

Newhouse Backs Forest Management and Wildfire Fighting Legislation

H.R. 2647, the Resilient Federal Forests Act

Last week, Rep. Newhouse supported House passage of H.R. 2647, the Resilient Federal Forests Act by a vote of 262-167. This legislation would tackle the issue of ‘fire borrowing’ while addressing the growing economic and environmental threats from catastrophic wildfires. If enacted, many measures in the bill could be implemented immediately by the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to dramatically improve the health and resiliency of federal forests and rangelands.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH REP. NEWHOUSE’S FLOOR SPEECH ON THE RESILIENT FEDERAL FORESTS ACT

For a summary of H.R. 2647, the Resilient Federal Forests Act, click here

H.R. 2178, the FORESTS Act

Rep. Newhouse is an original cosponsor of legislation introduced by Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) titled, H.R. 2178, the FORESTS Act, which would improve national forest health and reduce wildfire risks. The bill would require the U.S. Forest Service to identify areas in each national forest that should be actively managed and produce at least half of the sustainable timber yield in each management area each year.

H.R. 167, the Wildfire Disaster Funding Act

Rep. Newhouse is a cosponsor of legislation introduced by Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID), H.R. 167, the Wildfire Disaster Funding Act, which would authorize additional funds to be made available for fighting wildfires, and allows the Secretaries of Agriculture and Interior a streamlined, fast-tracked path to request those funds from Congress if needed.

H.R. 2909, the Protecting Firefighters and Promoting Innovation Act

Finally, Rep. Newhouse cosponsored H.R. 2909, the Protecting Firefighters and Promoting Innovation Act, to explore the use of innovative technology to fight wildfires. The bill would establish an interagency working group to examine the use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) for wildland firefighting. UAS technology could be used to assist in fire suppression efforts, provide real-time updates to assist firefighters and reduce the risk of fighting fires.