As we witness the active fires on the
Sites Complex and the Mendocino National
Forest near Stonyford, wildfires have
already consumed over 29,000 acres.
Fires are also burning in Trinity County
and in other northern California areas.
The heavy smoke and inversion layer is a
sad reminder of years past and what our
communities have endured as the result
of Mother Nature, neglect and the
failure to appropriately manage the fuel
The one bright spot is our
firefighters. Rising like the
Phoenix, they don their firefighting
uniforms and run toward the flames.
It is difficult and dangerous work
to fight the flames in 12-16 hour
shifts, sleep in pup tents in 100+
degree heat, and breathe smoke all
day. But it is what they choose to
do wholeheartedly to keep us safe
and protect our natural resources.
The fires are also a stark reminder
that we need to enact policies that can
reduce the frequency, duration,
intensity and cost of catastrophic fires
on public land.
The Forest Service is spending over a
billion dollars each year fighting
fires. In an era of trillion dollar
federal deficits, scarce taxpayer
dollars could be better used if we
addressed the unhealthy conditions in
our national forests to help prevent
catastrophic fires in the first place.
Quincy Library Group Pilot Project
would do just that, restoring our
forests in a fiscally responsible and
effective manner. I have introduced H.R.
3685 to reauthorize the program for ten
more years, ensuring that the Forest
Service has a stable and consistent
period for fully implementing the pilot
project. At the discretion of the Forest
Service, it would also allow for its
expansion to all National Forest system
lands within parts of California and
Nevada. The expansion of the pilot
project will enable the Forest Service
to use the effective QLG approach in
additional forest communities. Iím
pleased the House recently
passed this measure as part of
comprehensive legislation to promote a
more commonsense approach to natural
Additionally, I have introduced the
Catastrophic Wildfire Community
Protection Act to allow critical
forest thinning projects to go forward
in a timely manner and authorize at-risk
communities to implement the emergency
action plans that they developed to
reduce the threat of catastrophic fire.
I will continue to work with my fellow
House members to build support for this
In the face of severe economic
challenges, we need forest management
policies that allow local communities to
utilize their natural resources and
create jobs, while also restoring the
health of our forests.