March 13, 2014

Members of Congress from Idaho, Oregon and Idaho Governor Join Interior Secretary Jewell for 2014 Fire Season Outlook, Discuss Funding

Meeting includes Senators Crapo, Risch, Wyden and Merkley, Representatives Simpson and Labrador, Governor Otter and federal fire officials

Boise - United States Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell will visit the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) in Boise on Monday, March 17, 2014, for a briefing on the outlook of the 2014 wildfire season and a plan to revise fire funding introduced into Congress by Senators Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) and Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and co-sponsored by Senators Jim Risch (R-Idaho) and Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon).  U.S. Representatives Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) and Kurt Schrader (D-Oregon) have introduced a companion measure in the House that is also co-sponsored by Representative Raúl Labrador (R-Idaho).  Idaho Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter and the Western Governors' Association support the change in funding.

The bipartisan Wildfire Disaster Funding Act of 2013, introduced in the Senate and House and included in the President's Budget would dramatically reform federal wildfire policy by funding major wildfires the same way as other natural disasters, while freeing up funding to prevent future fires. The NIFC discussions provide the opportunity for a first look at the potential severity of the upcoming fire season, while offering a review of the financial and human costs of last year's season.  The Northwest delegation welcomed the addition of Jewell to a discussion of fire prevention, continued implementation of collaborative land management decisions, and the reforms in wildfire funding.

Who:   Interior Secretary Sally Jewell

Idaho Senator Mike Crapo

Idaho Senator Jim Risch

Oregon Senator Ron Wyden

Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley

Idaho Representative Mike Simpson

Idaho Representative Raúl Labrador

Idaho Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter

Federal fire officials

What:           Briefing on 2014 wildfire season and media availability on federal wildfire funding

When:           11:15 a.m., Monday, March 17 2014

Where:         National Interagency Fire Center, Jack Wilson HQ Building

                      3833 Development Avenue. Boise

(Enter through security gates off of Vista Avenue)