Rosen Co-Sponsors Wildfire Defense Act, Legislation to Implement a Community Wildfire Defense Plan and Protect Communities from Wildfire Threats

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV) announced her co-sponsorship of the Wildfire Defense Act, comprehensive legislation to help communities implement science-based methods for mitigating wildfire damage. This legislation would provide local communities with up to $10 million dollars to help them develop and carry out a Community Wildfire Defense Plan.

“We must do more to protect Nevada’s communities from the threat of wildfires, a costly, traumatic, and deadly natural disaster that impacts our state,” said Senator Rosen. “In 2019, wildfires burned over 80,000 acres in Nevada, stretching our local and state governments thin. I’m proud to co-sponsor this important piece of legislation that would implement mitigation strategies to reduce the environmental and fiscal impacts of disasters and help keep our state safe. I will continue doing my part in Congress to ensure communities across Nevada have the resources they need to prepare for natural disasters.”

BACKGROUND: According to a report from the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS), for every one dollar invested in mitigating the impacts of disasters, the United States saves six dollars in response and recovery after a disaster.

The Wildfire Defense Act would invest $1 billion per year to:

  • Establish guidelines for communities to conceptualize new Community Wildfire Defense Plans (CWDP) that are developed in coordination with community members, first responders, and relevant state agencies. CWDPs will focus on implementing strategies and activities relating to:
    • Improving evacuations and access for first responders
    • Addressing vulnerable populations, including the elderly, those with disabilities, and the homeless
    • Hardening critical infrastructure and homes
    • Applying defensible space to create a buffer between communities and the forest
    • Deploying distributed energy resources like microgrids with battery storage
    • Educating community members
  • Provide grants of up to $250,000 to develop a CWDP and grants of up to $10 million to implement a CWDP
  • Grants will be prioritized for low-income communities that are in a wildfire hazard area and communities recently impacted by a major wildfire
  • Study how a CWDP could be used as certification for insurance companies assessing a community resilience.
  • Complete a report on all federal authorities and programs to protect communities from wildfires.