Senators Introduce Package of Bills to Help Wildfire Communities

On Wednesday, Oregon’s U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden introduced three bills they claim will help the public, businesses, and agricultural operators combat the effects of wildfire smoke, and recover from the damage it causes.

A release said the legislation includes the Wildfire Smoke Emergency Declaration Act, the Smoke Planning and Research Act, and the Wildfire Smoke Relief Act.

The release said the bills are the latest in a year’s long effort to help prevent, fight, and recover from increasingly severe wildfires, as the Bootleg Fire continues to grow at a “startling pace”.

Merkley said, “I’m fully committed to doing everything I can to not only secure the resources we need to address the root causes of these fires and to control the blazes as quickly as possible, but also help Oregonians cope with, and recover from, increasingly hot weather conditions and the dangerous smoke these wildfires produce”.

Wyden said, “The infernos burning today are not your grandfather’s wildfires”. Wyden said they are burning bigger and hotter, and “bringing devastation to communities in their path”.

A summary said:

*The Wildfire Smoke Emergency Declaration Act would allow the president to declare “a smoke emergency” when wildfire smoke creates hazardous air quality conditions

*The Smoke Planning and Research Act would provide federal funding to help communities research, develop, and implement plans to help mitigate smoke.

*The Wildfire Smoke Relief Act would provide federal emergency assistance to at-risk individuals, in areas with unhealthy air quality caused wildfires