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Rep. Scott Peters Demands Funds to Fight Wildfires

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Scott Peters (CA-52) filed a petition demanding a vote on H.R. 3992, the “Wildfire Disaster Funding Act of 2014,” and held a press conference with House Democratic colleagues to highlight the need for funding to fight wildfires, and to call on Speaker of the House John Boehner to schedule a vote on the bill. San Diego has been particularly hard hit by wildfires in recent years, including the 2003 Cedar Fire, 2007 Witch Creek Fire, and a recent fire-storm in May which burned 27,000 acres and destroyed 65 homes.

“Wildfires, like earthquakes, are the natural disasters of the west; they happen just as suddenly, and their damage to homes, families, and communities, can be just as devastating,” Rep. Peters said. “Currently, the federal government borrows money from wildfire prevention funds to pay to fight the catastrophic fires we currently face. That doesn’t make sense and needs to be fixed. With this petition, I am calling on the Speaker to bring this truly bipartisan bill, also supported by the President, to a vote immediately so that fire-prone regions like San Diego don’t suffer from Washington’s dysfunction.”

H.R. 3992, the “Wildfire Disaster Funding Act of 2014,” which currently has bipartisan support in both the House and Senate -- 52 Democratic and 52 Republicans have cosponsored in the House -- and was included by the President in his budget request, would allow firefighting agencies to access funds from the natural disaster contingency fund when costs reach 70 percent of the 10-year average. Firefighting costs have exceeded their budget eight of the last ten years and we face prolonged droughts and longer wildfire seasons nationwide. It is fiscally responsible to treat wildfires like the natural disasters that they are and allow federal agencies to focus on preventing fires before they occur.