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Supes Ask Feinstein For More Rim Fire Support

Sonora, CA – US Senator Dianne Feinstein will shortly have three letters in her “Inbox” from the Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors.

At yesterday’s meeting, the supervisors asked for the senator’s support for an increase in funding from the US Forest Service as well as for swifter response through the Rim Fire restoration phase, noting the quick, effective work of the Rim Fire Burn Area Emergency Response (BAER) Team through post-fire stabilization efforts. In their communication, the supervisors stated that, without the requested support for the massive burn area, there is an increased likelihood of more wildfires there and that noxious weed, brush and bio mass buildup continue to have negative impacts on real forest landscape and habitat recovery.

In a second letter addressed to Feinstein, the board encouraged her support of the Emigrant Wilderness Historical Use Preservation Act (HR 3606), which seeks to preserve traditional area activities such as pack and saddle stock equestrian activities and grazing, campsites and campfires. The letters were marked to copy the offices of Senator Barbara Boxer, Mother Lode Congressman Tom McClintock, the Rural County Representatives of California (RCRC) and California State Association of Counties (CSAC).

In a third communication to Feinstein, the supervisors requested her support of the Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2015 (HR 2647), which passed the House earlier this month and is now sitting in the Senate. The board indicated in their letter that, had the act been in place prior to the Rim Fire, not only would the legislation have helped streamline and enhance recovery efforts, it might have also prevented related frivolous lawsuits.

HR 2647 proposes many changes in federal forest management, including specific streamlines for wildfire suppression and recovery processes. Among the bullet-point benefits of the act, according to the supervisors’ letter are that it would solve wildfire budgetary problems by allowing FEMA to transfer limited funds to the Bureau of Land Management after the exhaustion of all other suppression funding. They also point out that it would allow for quick timber salvage and post-wildfire reforestation; reauthorize and modernize resource advisory committees; return county share of forest receipts for long-term stewardship projects; and ensure all new projects comply with forest plans, ensuring no clear cutting of national forests. The letter was marked to copy Senator Boxer and Congressman McClintock.