WASHINGTON, D.C. - During a U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources hearing today, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) continued his call for wildfire funding reform and discussed the importance of wildfire prevention programs in New Mexico, including partnerships for watershed restoration, hazardous fuel reduction, and landscape treatment.
In his opening statement, Senator Heinrich, a cosponsor of S.235, the Wildfire Disaster Funding Act of 2015, discussed the need to stop the practice of "fire-borrowing," which occurs when the U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Department of the Interior are forced to borrow money from other important programs to make up for a lack of funding for wildland firefighting.
During the hearing, Senator Heinrich highlighted that collaboration between local and federal governments is a critical partnership to help restore watersheds and protect healthy forests. He cited the Santa Fe Water Fund and Rio Grande Water Fund as key examples.
Senator Heinrich also discussed ways to improve landscape fuel treatments to reduce the severity of the effects of wildfire.
A list of witnesses, testimony, and the archived webcast of today's hearing is available here.