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Crapo, Risch, Daines Push Biden Administration to Protect Communities from Dangers of Wildfire Smoke, Increase Active Forest Management

Washington, D.C.--U.S. Senators Mike Crapo, Jim Risch (both R-Idaho) and Steve Daines (R-Montana) led a group of senators in sending a letter to Biden administration officials on the need to use prescribed fires to protect communities from the negative impacts of wildfires and increase active forest management.

“For decades, western states have faced smoke filled summers that harm vulnerable populations, degrade the enjoyment of the outdoors, and weaken the economic vitality of communities that support outdoor recreation industries," the Senators wrote.  "Prescribed fire is a proven method to reduce risk of catastrophic wildfire and the associated smoke from the mega-fires confronting our communities today.  Given the significant harms that wildfire smoke alone causes, the MOU gives your agencies the opportunity to allow for prescribed fire, which is a vital tool to mitigating wildfire risk, while protecting public health.  Prescribed fires cause a small amount of smoke at a predictable time and in a more controlled manner, which is far preferable to the large and unpredictable smoke of catastrophic wildfires.” 

On November 8, 2023, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Department of the Interior (DOI), Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to enhance collaboration between the agencies to protect communities from the negative impacts of wildfire smoke. Complex and technical regulations from the EPA continue to limit the use of prescribed fires, which produce far less smoke than wildfires and can be planned when wind is blowing away from communities.

Read the full letter sent to the EPA, DOI, USDA and the CDC HERE.

Senators Roger Marshall (R-Kansas), Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon), Ron Wyden (D-Oregon), John Barrasso (R-Wyoming), Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia), Jerry Moran (R-Kansas), Martin Heinrich (D-New Mexico), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyoming), Laphonza Butler (D-Califonia), Kyrsten Sinema (I-Arizona), John Thune (R-South Dakota), Patty Murray (D-Washington), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) and Jon Tester (D-Montana) also signed the letter.