RENO, NV – Today, U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV) held a roundtable discussion with representatives from the United States Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the Nevada Department of Environmental Protection, the Nevada Division of Forestry, local Fire Protection Districts, the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, the Desert Research Institute, and Washoe County to hear directly from local officials about the urgent threat of wildfires to Northern Nevada and share an update on her actions in the Senate to support wildfire prevention efforts and resources.
“This year has been one of our most challenging fire seasons yet, and we’ve seen the health of Nevadans and the safety of our communities put at risk as a result,” said Senator Rosen. “I joined local environmental and firefighting experts to thank them for their tireless work, hear their concerns and recommendations, and discuss the actions I’m taking in the Senate to ensure Nevada has the federal resources needed to protect against wildfires, improve prevention efforts, and support our heroic firefighters. Together, with a proactive and multi-pronged approach, I know that we can better address the factors that have led to an increase in these wildfires and do more to keep our state safe.”
BACKGROUND: Last week, Senator Rosen wrote an op-ed column for the Reno Gazette-Journal on the urgent need to address the new normal for wildfires. She also co-sponsored the Federal Firefighter Fairness Act of 2021 and the Federal Firefighter Flexibility and Fairness Act, two bipartisan bills that would support federal firefighters by expanding eligibility for benefits and providing greater flexibility to manage their shifts.
In September, Senator Rosen co-sponsored the Wildfire Smoke Emergency Declaration Act, legislation that would allow the president of the United States to declare a “smoke emergency” when wildfire smoke creates hazardous air quality conditions.
In August, Rosen led fellow Western Senators in a letter urging Senate committee chairs to include funding for wildfire and drought prevention, mitigation, and relief measures in their respective sections of the forthcoming budget reconciliation legislation.
That same month, Rosen re-introduced with Senator Deb Fischer (R-NE) the Helping Emergency Responders Overcome (HERO) Act, bipartisan legislation to support firefighter mental health. The bill would support efforts by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to collect data on first responder suicides and direct HHS to develop best practices for identifying and treating post-traumatic stress and combating suicide among firefighters and other first responders. The HERO Act also would establish a grant program for peer-to-peer counseling programs to address mental health challenges for first responders.
The Senate-passed, bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which Senator Rosen co-authored, will increase salaries for firefighters and convert at least 1,000 seasonal firefighters to permanent, year-round positions. The bill also includes her amendment to add wildfires as a specified damage for which federal assistance from the National Highway Performance Program may be used to rebuild damaged highways.