A group of western lawmakers this week asked the Department of Agriculture and Interior Department for additional wildfire fighting resources. The 25 lawmakers asked the federal government to assist in continuing to fight fires aggressively, communicate clearly and take administrative steps now to prepare additional personnel for when they are needed. In a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, the lawmakers say, “As you are well aware, wildfires do not respect jurisdictional boundaries, so constant communication between public and private entities is crucial.” The letter points out that recent reports suggest the United States Forest Service faces a significant wildfire staffing shortfall despite the recent pay increase included in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. USDA and DOI can surge additional personnel to help when the firefighting season is underway. The lawmakers say, “we ask you do everything you can to start that process now.”
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