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McClintock’s Fire Suppression Bill Passes Committee Hurdle

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Washington, DC — The Republican-led US House Natural Resources Committee has passed legislation that would require the US Forest Service to quickly put out fires in high-hazard areas, rather than let them burn out naturally.

Mother Lode Congressman Tom McClintock introduced House Resolution 94 in response to the 2021 Tamarack Fire in Alpine County. He says it was allowed to burn naturally for 12 days before it exploded out of control and scorched 70,000 acres.

“It is dangerous nonsense to ‘monitor’ incipient fires in today’s forest tinderbox, even if they seem to pose no immediate danger,” McClintock argued to the committee. “No person in his right mind would ‘monitor’ a rattlesnake curled up in his bedroom because it isn’t doing much of anything.”

The proposed legislation was discussed at a recent House Natural Resources Field Hearing held in Yosemite National Park.

McClintock continues, “I think we are finally developing a bi-partisan consensus that our Forests cannot be surrendered to policies of benign neglect, and that includes the need to extinguish small blazes before they can become big ones. If prescribed burns are necessary, they should be carefully planned and not left to chance.”

The bill would also mandate that prescribed burns that exceed their planned boundaries be immediately extinguished and would require the approval of the incident commander before backfires can be set by ground crews.

The resolution now moves to the full US House floor for consideration. It would then move to the Senate.