In the News
July 17, 2022
By Shawn Styles
"In 2017, we lost our first Sequoia to a fire and in the last two years, 19% of all the Giant Sequoias to a fire," said Congressman Scott Peters. Full video report here.
SAN DIEGO — In centuries past, the number of Giant Sequoias lost to fires is hardly worth mentioning. But since then, it's a different story and that's why Congress members Kevin McCarthy and Scott Peters are bringing a bill before Congress.
"In 2017, we lost our first Sequoia to a fire and in the last two years, 19% of all the Giant Sequoias to a fire," said Peters.
To put that in perspective, from the year 1200 through 2017, none of the sequoias were lost to fires and these are tree's that can live thousands of years.
Normally natural fires would happen and keep the forest thinned. But with modern fire suppression policy that doesn't happen.
"What that means is next to the Sequoias are tall pine trees that are shade tolerant, that have grown up and convey this fire into the crown...those have to be taken out," said Peters.
The bill is called ‘Save Our Sequoias,’ it has bipartisan support and is co-sponsored by Congress members Scott Peters and Kevin McCarthy.
"So, what our bill does is it draws a big circle around the Sequoia Groves, there's not that many of them and it says were able to clear out some of the underbrush as if a natural fire had occurred."
The SOS bill would earmark $350 million and would move quickly.
"We're going to declare an emergency and make sure the environmental review is appropriate with the moment and doesn't take too long so we can get at this. If we don't do this now, these tree's will be gone in 20 to 25 years, all of them,"
The bill has a good chance to pass with Peters bringing 15 from his side of the aisle and McCarthy bringing 15 from his.
"I'm going to work together with everyone to get this done, to get this job done. And to have the support on his side support on his side, will really help us get this passed, get the money in place, and get going on this project,” said Peters.
Peters believes that when the House returns to Washington D.C. from their summer break that Save Our Sequoias is a bill that can get passed.
"This is an iconic symbol of California; these trees are 2,000 to 3,000 years old. People come from all over to see them,” said Peters. “This is what we talk out when we talk about environmental protection. This is one of the Cornerstones we want to protect.