tv Senate Energy Hearing on Wildland Fire Management Programs CSPAN June 14, 2019 10:16pm-12:07am EDT
yarmouth on this year's spending bills. health and human services and other departments. finish newsmakers, saturday at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. eastern on c-span. >> oh, do i look forward to running against him. [cheers and applause] >> tuesday, president donald trump holds a rally e in old, florida, officially launching his run for a second term. watch online at c pan.org or listen live on the free c-span radio app. >> the energy and natural resources committee held a hearing on wildland fire management programs. among the witnesses, officials with the interior department and the u.s. forest service as well as official from california and alaska. [inaudible conversations]
>> good morning. the committee will come to order. we are here today to discuss the outlook for the 2019 wildfire season. as we know, it's underway, certainly underway in my state. i know it's underway in washington state, california most certainly, and we've all received -- >> [inaudible] >> yeah. west virginia, you're okay right now. but if you look at that map, that red in the southwest is something to pay attention to as well. excuse me. last week the national interagency fire center released its monthly wildland fire
potential outlook for june through september, and despite relief from the oppressive drought conditions this past winter, analysts predict elevated wildfire activity in california, oregon and washington among other areas in the country. some of the stage is set for fire activity similar to indescribable damage and the staggering loss of life that we saw last year in northern california. we watched in horror as the camp fire engulfed the town of paradise, killing 85 individuals, some of whom were trapped in vehicles on rural roads trying to escape the blaze. so we're back again. over the past week, we've seen an uptick in wildfires nationally. the oregon lake fires back in alaska continues to burn in the donnelly training area. this is a u.s. army range, and in addition to the hazards of fighting the fire, our folks there are very carefully monitor
thing and spot treating the fire as it moves across dod land that contains unexploded ordnance, so just yet another threat that is out there. i understand that the vast majority of our fires are lightning strike, and they predict a lot more lightning in this next week. this weekend in arizona smoke billowing from the mountain fire at the outskirts of phoenix suburbs prompted the closure of a popular weekend campground and marinas in the tonto national forest. so arizona is seeing it, as senator mcsally knows. a fast moving brush fire in l.a. county triggered a panicked evacuation of hundreds of families from a crowded six flags amusement park. some patrons reported that they were actually on the roller coaster rides, and ash began burning their eyes. north of sacramento more than 500 firefighters have been working in triple -- digit heat to tame the san fire. on saturday 22,000 people were
left without power when transmission lineses outside the burn area were intentionally deenergized as a precaution. but, you know, this is the new normal out there if we want to try e and deal with some of in the fire threat, what we're going to do is turn off the power. we've seen time and time again how something simple like a small spark on a breezy day can bring about devastating infernos. the mendocino complex fire, which was the largest fire in california's history, was started by a hammer hitting a metal stake. we've all seen the news accounts of that recently. every summer we see our home states erupt in flames, and more wildfires are occurring in the east and in the central states while the fires in the west grow larger and certainly more severe. there are a number of reasons why our forests and our grasslands are increasingly susceptible to fire; a changing climate means drier and warmer weather, much of our nation's forest landscapes are unhealthy and overstocked with excess fuel, and the proliferation of
disease and insect outbreaks certainly like we've seen in alaska and elsewhere around the country, certainly colorado, that these leave behind large swaths of hazard trees that are ready to ignite like a matchstick out there. in alaska warmer winters have led to a population boom of spruce beetle across nearly one million acres in just a few years now. we have communities on the peninsula and now up in the matsu valley that are just scrambling to remove the dead and the dying trees from neighborhoods along the highways. year in and year out these factors continue to compound, creating the perfect recipe for longer, costlier and more damaging fire seasons. in 2018 more than 8.8 million acres burned across the curve, double the average -- the country, double the average in the 1990s. haas year was almost the most expensive wildfire season on record, on record. the federal government spent more than -- 3.1 billion -- more
than $3.1 billion in suppression costs. so this is not only a human catastrophe, but certainly a financial cost and increase that is beyond belief. just a few years ago, back in 2015, we had more than phi million acres -- five million acres that burned in alaska alone. that was truly a catastrophic year for us. i suppose the good news for that, if you can see any good news in five million acres burned, is that very little in terms of property damage because of where these fires were located. but we certainly don't see that with these intense fires in the lower 48. so congress has started to respond by expanding the authorities that federal land managers can use for wildfire prevention. we've given the forest service greater latitude to partner with
states, local governments and tribes to reduce hazards in the larger landscape. we've streamlined the federal environmental review process to expedite projects aimed at restoring our forests to their natural fire-adaptive state, and we've initiated a $2 billion increase in how we budget for wildfire suppression. and that change will take effect later this year at the start of fy-2020. without delay, we're counting on the forest service and the interior department to utilize its full suite of resources for fire prevention and active forest management. and here in congress we'll continue to work on additional reforms to reduce the threat of wildfire. so today we've got the a good panel -- got a good panel to discuss the outlook for the wildfire season. we have from the state of chris maish, testifying on behalf of the national association of state foresters. he's been before the committee before, and we welcome you back,
chris. mr. wade crowfoot is going to discuss the wildfire crisis that is facing the state of california. representing the department of the interior is jeff rupert, the director of the office of wildland fire. and we have shawna lagarza who is the director of fire and aviation management for the u.s. forest service. she is a longtime civil servant of the forest service with over 30 years of experience. she was once a hot shot superintendent, began fighting forest fires working her way through college as a young woman. we all know and we've had opportunity here in the committee to discuss the issue of workplace safety for women in the forest service, particularly those working on fire crews has been a priority for this committee, so i will look forward to your unique perspective on this issue as well as we're discussing the issues relating to wildland
fires. with that, i will turn to senator manchin for his comments, and then we'll turn to panel. >> amen, chairman. and i want to thank you for holding this hearing and all of you for appearing today to try to help us find solutions that we all need. before getting to my remarks, i'd also like to thank a moment to thank all of our -- take a moment to thank all of our first responders and firefighters who risk their lives every time they go out to protect us, bravely serving our country day in and day out. they work long, grueling hours, i think you all know that, and in a dangerous job for not much in compensation. we are grateful to them. so, madam chairman, i think the wildfires we have seen the past few years and the aftermath that they leave shows why this is such an important topic for us to discuss, and i'm eager to learn more from the witnesses today. as ranking member from the eastern state, i've listened to my western state colleagues and continue to learn more about the issues impacting their states.
and wildfire has been a repeated topic of discussion. despite the slow start to this year's fire season, i understand wildfires are increasing in intensity, size and frequency. they're burning longer, they are harder to control than they were just a few years ago, and no -- and one of the major reasons for these worsened fires is the change we have going on in climate. just a couple weeks ago i joined chairman murkowski, senator cantwell, senator barrasso, senator whitehouse to see fisthand the effects climate change is having on the arctic and innovative solutions aimed at increasing natural resilience through technology. it was truly unbelievable to witness the rapid changes occurring, but as we know with the committee's work on other issues, the changes are being felt right here at home, especially during fire season. i believe the time for sensationalism is over and for seeking climate solutions. it seems like so many buzz wods
gets people --words gets people or fired up. why can't we have climate solutions? because we all know we have to do something. that'll bring people together. scientists have shown that the warmer and drier weather has been causing wildfires to burn hotter, faster and for longer periods. in fact, recent studies show the average fire season is now 78 days longer than it was in 1970. experts are also saying that as global temperatures continue to rise, the wildfires that we all experience in the united states will continue to worsen. research has shown the global temperature increase of one degree fahrenheit will result in 35% more acres burning in wildfires and doubling in our fire fighting costs. obviously, the effects of climate change are only beginning, being made worse by our decades-long history of suppressing all wildfires, even the good fires. and by the lack of timber harvesting in our forests, which is something, i'm sure, that we're going to talk about today.
now communities across the country are being con fronted with increasingly dangerous blazes. last year over 18,000 homes were lost to wilefires. -- wildfires. that is 1 in every 7,000 houses in the united states. think about that. 18,000. as we continue to have these important conversations about carbon emissions and increasing resilience in mitigation, wildfires will need to be part of these conversations. i'm going to state it again because i think it's worth repeating, i am seeking climate solutions that will bring people together. fortunately, i believe that addressing wildfires is a bipartisan issue. wildfires do not discriminate. they don't care whether you're republican or democrat, they don't care what household that is. if it's in their way, they're going to get it. they have affected both red and blue states equally. everyone here supports giving our brave men and women the best tools available to do their jobs. i know the that senator
cabotwell and senator gardner have shown great leadership to insure that our firefighters have access to state of the art technologies. i also want to take this opportunity to thank senator wyden for his leadership on his wildfire funding bill that was enacted last year, making an additional $2 billion available beginning next year to the agencies who fire fight. i was a cosponsor of the bill because of how important the bill is to my state of west virginia also. each year when the forest service ran short of funds, it would raid the accounts of the eastern national forest. the national forest in west virginia in order to pay for fire fighting. and we understood that. in addition to not being fair, the fire borrowing practice was terribly disruptive to the proper management of these forests. and it directly harmed the surrounding communities that depend on our national forests. so the fire borrowing legislation was a great start, but there is more work to be
done. we need to be looking at new, innovative solutions because these are very complex problems without simple answers. so i look forward to hearing from the witnesses about the approach we are taking this year so that our country does not have to repeat the devastation we experienced just last year. thank you, madam chairman, and thank you to our witnesses, and i look forward to this hearing. >> thank you, senator manchin. i appreciate you raising the issue surrounding our trip to arctic. .. . >> wildfires in the arctic.
we will not resolve that one today but it does speak to what we see in different parts of the world because the winters arene cold enough they kill the beatles that destroy the trees. we see increased drought even without trees we have fires we can recognize that. >> when i took away from the trip that we had and it was the most amazing trip will we had only read and studied about but to see up close and personal is moving. the nations that are represented they have more than just two-party systems like wee do all the parties and
all the countries not one allows the discussion of climate change to be a political divide they all agreed because they are existence depends on something being done and we can all agree it needs to be done d so thank you madame chairman. >> introduced each of you to in order that folks know the value that you bring to the discussion the enforcers and the interior to the individual states we welcome you to the
committee so the moment your comment about five minutes and as part of the record for having me here today. so to speak about the fire year look out and our agency with the national regional and state so as you know, already it is wetter than normal conditions across the south central america and on the west coast but it's starting to dry out right now. we are showing increased risk even sending firefighters toe canada.
and all those will dry out and with that to be continue to be prepared over the past several years so how do we continue to be prepared so as you know, those comments of the environment that is your topography but that fuel loading there isn't a lot we can do it topography and we have seen the abnormal weather events. so what can we do with weather and topography?
we know we have 80 million acres 44 million homes and that urban wildlife interface so when we look on - - work on that eventually reduce exposure tour firefighters to get in there and attack the fires so there's less fuel laid - - loading. >> 86 percent of the fires are human caused. that means 86 percent could be prevented. we have more on the east coast and the westee coast a larger percent are the smaller fires on the east coast we have to workirir together and those with
those logistics and communication all across the country we should be very proud we have one of the best assistance fire response we go to other countries to hear about their stories to talk about the system we have intr america. and those to push out those authorities in the 2018 on the bis bill and recently the dingo lacked. in two weeks we have our first ever animation technology spending a couple days in boise idaho overwhelming response for accountability and safety across america program at the local level
down at the district office there is continuous preseason looking at those authorities and those agreements that we have when fire will come into that area so we have pre- preparedness plans looking at that on the bis bill for looking at those communities at risk but that pilot study that we hope to look for with those areas that the last thing i like to stay to improve the state of the nation's forest work on that work environment in the forest service. we believe do you inspect your integrity no discrimination at any level we are working on somee initiatives that we know
we have to do more to help that situation that concludes my statement. >> thank you. >> thank you for the opportunity to appear this morning to discuss the 2019 wildfire outlook of the program speaking to you last year at this time i said the year ahead would be a challenging one. 2018 could not have been much more than that. that has been a trend the fire season in reality is a fire year facing large are costly more wildfires.
we ended 2018 with the destruction of an entire california.e losing billions of dollars of economic losses. it is hard to imagine a repeat of this experience but this is the potential reality. it's difficult to sit here before you to say a challenging year is ahead of us because of the wildfires are more consistently more construct - - destructive and if we are lucky this will just be challenging so far we see fire activity across the pacific northwest that increased potential is expected in july the increased potential is expected to develop inn, washington, idaho along the canadian border, expecting to last through september.
most of hawaii experiencing higher than normal and the rest of the country will see potential through most of the summer. doesn't mean there is no risk of wildfire and other areashe but it is a normal risk in other areas. while yet we have to see the cost the canadian neighbors are experiencing right now in alberta, we can expect to see them soon. we are vigilant with our readiness and effective with our response and preparedere for 2019. what is dependent on the collaborative work with the executive order to reduce
wildfire risk with fire management with land management objectives for more collaborative rant landscape investments to reduce real fire risk. through more activeor management we can reduce the impact from costly wildfires partnerships continue to grow to get work done more effectively working with homelandri security with those mitigation projects closer joint efforts to address resource goals as well as border patrol to meet those objectives. collectively this all works were hands - - landscapes are healthy and v vigorous we have made considerable progress with our efforts but we also
recognize substantially more needs to be done 2019 will continue to grow or use of technology over the next several years with the tracking terminals we also see new opportunities to have operational efficiencies of unmanned aircraft systems for aerial ignition the prescribed fires and wildfires. and tois reduce cost and then to become a critical tool for firefighters. and then to obtain critical information without putting lives at risk. and double the us lights over
15007 flights and we expect that to continue to grow. and with that active management and then to continue to grow technology this concludes my statement. thank you. >> good morning. thank you members of the committee i'm state forrester and director natural departmentnt of resources and member of national association of state forrester's i appreciate the opportunity to speak with you today.apap representing the state forrester agencies in all states territories and the district of columbia. with a significant portion or portion nationally resources
capacity. and with that mitigation of 2018 and with one.4 billion on suppressiones alone. at 2018 those that were mobilized to the inter- eight - - national interagencygey 75 percent wererl mobilized. state and local agencies responsiblee for 70 percent for all jurisdictions. with hard work and dedication to achieve a bipartisan solution about the non- suppression for service accounts including the state forestry program. the volunteer fire assistance program that states and fire departments to increase capacity to provide crucial financial and technical
assistance with preparedness and training and maintenance of equipment and the 2018 to provide over 20 million of funding for those benefiting over 1000 communities in the interface. this led directly to the treatment of 50000 acres of hazardous hills with those firefighters to assist over 15000 communities of increased depression capacity. attacking them when they are small is the key to loss of homes and cutting cost. there are two additional programs for supporting the capacity the federal excess property programs and firefighter propertyag program.
these are critical to small fire departments in smallll communities as it could be the only equipment available to them. that a situation that needs improvement between federal and state agencies that wildfires that began on federal lands on state and privatete land those cost share programs negotiated at the time of the incident is preferable with that preseason between jurisdictional agencies and in alaska the entire state has a fire plan identifying fire protection levels and with those agencies allowing them to burn us manage fires. as they make their decision they are financially
responsible even if it leaves agency land. and then the need to address that critical issue with that state firefighting resources due to the liability issue. representing all the states and canadian products and territories. with those resources that from one to another. and those with tore wildfires. and then to enact new national legislation related to the liability t issue between
compacts. with the option without requiring them to change statutes. and then to accept the terms as well the legislation would not perfect that legislation but provide an option foror states with additional protection when sharing resources. thank you forit your attention. >> thank you very much for the opportunity and i came directly from the western governors d association and i can report that wildfire is a grave concern for governors across the west in your priority is much appreciated. for forest land management and wildlife protection is a
department of the firefighters and men and women fighting these were fighting firefighters. 50 percent are owned by the federal government 25 million acres is classified under a threat it actually worsens conditions. 2018 was a devastating year for wildfires. and talk about the campfire and paradise 50000 people remain displaced as a result thank you very much for your leadership because it is changing lives in california that camp fire created the worst air quality on thet planet. i have a four -year-old at the time living in the bay area most of the time was spent
outside with the mask so for weeks l on and with dangerous air quality that is the new normal. 3 percent of the land mass of the state burning over 3 million acres we expect it to get worse. ranking member mansion talking about the impact of a changing climate parts of the state that we suppress wildfire the population hasti expanded with overly dense forest and then lastly 11 million people in the urban interface so what do we do about it?
and then those projects around the most vulnerable communities.ab with a second day on office leading to an emergency proclamation. to allows cal fire to have fuel breaks and to with those requirements to get that done quickly. and that is that defensible space so those homes that are built they demonstrate the ability to remain through the fires. and then with a safe haven when theynd cannot evacuate the third is to improve the ability to fighter fires. and then to fight fires of the aviation assets and to focus
on mower technology. to waive those requirements to get the best technology out there into the field this summer and lastly on forest health me have the environmental review on 20 million acres to have that expedited permit checklist and some of those strong partnerships to identify those areas. number one increase funding from education management dad time when they were getting worse the budget is moving backwards. the forest service treated 310,000 acres last year in california to reduce the target as an adult salt of
reduced funding. and the tools that it brings to w firefighting mister ruppert mentioned a gps saving firefightersve lives. and also those reforms more efficiently while protecting environmentally resources and then more coordination and that are pursuing a state-by-state master agreement to bring more innovation to what we do together. thank you. >> thank you for your contribution i know that members are moving to rot - - around a d lot may have votes
beginning so i will defer we appreciate having this hearing today arizona knows that devastation of these wildfires coming up on the sixth anniversaryy that took the lives of 19 firefighters. i have been up at that site and that loss is still very real we are grateful for those who are willing to fight these fires and that complexity that they pose so if we better manage the forest to the heroes and communities and that initiative is one important element of that.
and to come out to manage another 500,000 makers one - - acres it is not your jurisdiction 5 and then in the hearing is supposed to be coming out in june and it is so critical for prevention and management of forest. . >> still working on those elements. .ll >> so we went out and visited many sites have the forest and one of the real challenge you know, is a hundred years in this place but there is so much with thatat low-level biomass that doesn't allow any private company to think about the ability to partner withtn us
some of those are unique they are very specific things with those small diameter trees and those so many different elements of this spec are not waiting any longer this is in the jurisdiction of the forest service and then to direct those procedures for that low value by product coming off of there. and we well pass on the bill to see what you can do without literally taking an act of congress. that any perspective that you have to those challenges a partnership for theo private sector you just need to remove the red tape.
>> absolutely. . >> to know that fire knows no boundaries and then continue to use all the authorities that we have we do see that fuel loading for firefighter in those communities moving out. >> i'm grateful forut that. >> i yield back the rest of my time. >> senator? >>. >> thank you to all of you. and my colleague from arizona was speaking about let me give you somef statistics. from 1950 to 1990 the forest service cut down lumber
annually. fever than 4 million acres burned during that period ofbu time. for each of the last couple years the for service only cut two or 3 billion annually and 10 million acres have earned. in 2018 they sold only two.3 billion feet of timber. and there is another one here. estates that are hit the hardestt right now i will give you an example. that was a success back then why do we do it now?
and 36000 west virginia have a pretty robust industry. so can you explain to me on the recommendations there should be more control over these fires based on timbering or how we manage? >>. >> absolutely. thank you senator. we are seeing larger fires we have seen fires start earlier and then start later and burn more acres. i believe the authorities you have been giving us a 20 year stewardship contracts to report on those authorities not just timber removal but to prescribe across the country and it takes time to get there.
rolling out that rule forut implementation that we are working right now with those policies and procedures we could follow that for more time sensitive space to get more work done. >> the controlled burns only conducts prescribed burns 2 million per year for prescribed burns on 10 million acres so why not? >>. >> we did just under 2 million last year which is a lot more than we have done in a long time. we are ramping it to up but with prescribed burning there is a prescription we have to follow with air temperature the moisture where the smoker goes before and after the burn. >> see you are saying basically that restriction
impedes that controlled burns but when there's a forest fire they have no control. that makes no sense to me. try and explain this to the average person west virginia. >> it's important to get the public in the community. >> let's get back into the finances 1990 we spent 200 million per year now it's 4 billion per year. i understand you operate similar number of fire engines the 50 percent more firefighters and fewer aircraft. however the increase of firefighters alone does not account for the 2000 percent of increase so where's the money going? >>. >> will have 32 air tankers in the system so they cost more money the firefighters are remaining steady over the
forest service but that activity across the landscape the highest level that we have in america sometimes there is 30000 so usually at that time it is 7000 that are on the landscape. >> anybody can chime in and we know that suppression works we know that it could work we see those results and what do we do more to get the attention? to be proactive versus reactive?
. >> and those environmental groups that is a lot of conservation that active management of the forest is essential. >> are they okay with timbering or do they push back with that? >>. >> they are okay with commercial advertisements for the book there is the emergingka consensus the public-private partnerships are important but also emphasize the point we need to build new markets. >> we have the markets out east you don't have those in the west so to understand what you are talking about? you don't have demand for the
malt. >> but they need consistent demand to amortize their investment so with congress and the forest service to expand that 20 year stewardshipp agreement. with those private partners to come in with exchange for 20 years. >> i will defer to colleagues. >> thank you madam chair. mister ruppert, the discussion of wildland fires and focusing on forest fires it also causes a lot of damage and that is damage in my state of utah blm manages over 1400 separate
grazing allotments in utah 22 million acres of land in my state. with this fast experience the livelihood of a lot of utahans. what can you tell me of the plans to expand existing wildfire prevention strategies specific to the forest floor? >>. >> to your point, interior 550 million acres that we administer a relatively small portion is forest. we manage large areas of grassland and habitats so as you describe that risk we interact with and that basin
is a perfect example of that. interior blm i think from my perspective we have made great progress even over the last half a decade in terms t of focusing and prioritizing the work around the fire risk with the great basin there's a lot of work to go there. as we are focused on this engagement around active management and as we are focused to implement things like the executive order to better integrate land management activities with fire management activities and specifically what that looks like in terms of opportunity as we are planning land management activities a very
clearan expectation that planning effort and those activities that follow will be informed with a high priority with fire risk so in terms of actual management activity it's everything from prescribed fires we talked about earlier from mechanical treatment to where we find public-private partnerships and leverage that opportunity. absolutely that's a priority. it really is all of the above strategy but the progress that you will see us making in the short term as we better integrate that in a deliberate way how we plan to do land management activities fire management working here and there but both working
together. >>. if you allow appropriate grazing that could help suppress fires and limit the fuel the fire would need to burn. >> she said during her opening remarks fire intensity and fire behavior that is fairly simple relationship it is those three things that is whether and topography and we cannot control those day today and fuel. fuel we can affect. and that is a way to help explain why the focus on actively management reducing vegetation that is the one thing we can really affect. >> there are some circumstances in which a single fire might affect blm
the land simultaneously and in that circumstance as possible you have different recommendations or strategies for forest service than blm so how do you handle that? >>. >> if there is a wildfire on the groundat burning, there is a long well-established interoperable framework in place is not just interior with the forest service but the federal family but the state family and local capacit capacity, all the members that make up the interagency fire community and the wildfires on the ground burning as that is responded to that incident management framework in place is pretty seamless and to be honest there are not a lot of good examples out there where we are at odds with priorities or
strategies to interact with tha that. it is actually quite an impressive framework we have in place. we don't struggle with a lot of those issues from my perspectiv perspective. >> thank you madam chair. >> thank you madam chair. i am heading home to rural oregon this weekend and i can tell you the forests of oregon and in particular rural oregon again a tinderbox. what we have is a heavy winter with devastating storms and countless tree and debris with a cool spring and new growth and now it nears 100 degrees this is not an abstract question. we have our forest in rural communities at risk as of today. so we badly need good and
preventive management to make sure this tinderbox does not completely devastate r lives to put our communities at risk of breathing toxic wildfires for weeks on end. i want to lay this foundation is one day ago the forest serviceur announced basically he wants to roll back environmental law and it will let them get more skills for projects to be done so if this was a full employment program for lawyers, more litigation, less workf work in the woods more risk for communities. my home state alone has over 2 million acres of prescribed fire treatment that have gone through environmental review. they have gone through the
review and they are ready to go. why wouldn't you focus on that which we know those are shovel ready projects? why don't you focus on that so we can do something important to protect oregon communities now rather than chaseseknkn the ideological pipe dream to roll back environmental laws putting our communities at risk? that's my question why do you propose these when you are not even going after the backlog of approved project. >> thanknk you. not only just oregon but other states have other shovel ready projects for those treatments that we need contracts and moving forward it's almost like we need to do both and those regulations we have. >> pardon me my time ispr short but these are projects that
have been through review there isn't a question. they have been through the review. they are ready to go but you have made the decision something else takes precedence that in my view could delay that backlog and then we will see more litigation that is the history of the pacific northwest senator cantwell knows this so basically you run the lawyers employment program you don't get the real work like that backlog that has already gone through environmental review l done and we don't deserve that. we deserve getting that done first. >>. >> and to bring back those
environmental rules. that was a statement one day ago. to say how i would make sure and not to be waylaid in a whole new litigation in derby where everybody shows up and sues each other can i have that within a week to get the backlog and to get that done first without these rollbacks. . >>. >> thank you to the witnesses
for your testimony today. after the weather we have enjoyed in colorado you can still go ski this weekend if you would like much of the west has experienced a cooler spring it would be an idea to ramp up those projects how does that recent passage of supplemental spending affect thehe approach? >>. >> what senator wyden is talking about with those other accounts to spend the money like they are talking about on these projects. we are very grateful for the stories you have given us as
in the oral statement with those emergencies i cannot get ahead of where we need to be. they are working hard with the san juan national forest. >> and that was in effect and that will help solve itself. >> and then to be put back in the field. in that statement made by the manager that the forces sustained in the timber industry is here to sustain the forest and then with those problematic areas.
with those acres that are at very high risk of wildfire. and that would take about 20 years. that doesn't take into account of other acreages added into that 63 million number eight kurt or not. . >> we have a long ways to go. and with those authorities you have go given us and to be very aggressive at the local level. but we have to be together for the long haul and with the challenges that we face.
>> it was brought up those decisions on fire breaks. we saw the buffalo gap fire to be saved from devastation with the firebreak. people want to be in the forest and enjoy that. to enjoy that lawsuit so how do we get this right to protect the communities the reason they move the forest? . >> first of all, firebreak's work. talking about paradise the death toll would have been much higherir had there not been vegetation management in that court or and to protect the nearby community. california as we prioritize those around him - - among the most vulnerable communities.
and then basically expedited those projects with a requirements we don't doho that lightly we cannot do business as usual. . >> thank you mister rupert talk about that the advancement act with senator cantwell and as of last week before this committee we have a series of presentations from firefighters showing us new technologies those that help to save lives in the forest and communities. so those that are the most positive developments? >>. >> there isn't an abundance of
technology out there with a real-time situational awareness were closer to real-time situational awareness. talk about tracking assets with safety considerations and planning a whole suite of technology to inform all of that to implement increased use of unmanned aircraft and how that reduces risk to people. and abundance of opportunity there so the challenge that wean have the work we have in front of us that integrates that not into the forest service or
local fire department bed a community that shauna talked about last august. those firefighters that are oni incident. only a portion of those are federal firefighters apportion where local or contractors. it is a very diverse community that is the work we have to do to develop those standards so that we could take from the unmanned aircraft to clearly help us develop a strategy that everybody can see that. . >> i am out of time. >> thank you for this hearing and continuing to focus on
that you would be any disaster to be prepared for. and one of the first questions that i have director is that if we are seeing other people implementingis the gps systems that blm has now agreed to this immediately but to immediately implement the gps system and hopefully on to the firefighters and then defined
what is out there but then to find out what we need interagency with the blm and the states to put together a request of information to find out how much that cost. . >> and then to limit this year with the secretary not to put you in a particular spot but we did go down one year ago to say this is what blm already implemented with their resource management with drones and real-time information. so now we are here today with the technology legislation my colleague and i from colorado you have one year to implement the fact that blm has implemented this right away why can't we get the forest
service to do the same to put the strategies together to do that? they have been very proactive with those agencies like the state of alaska we asked them to do a video with the spot fires and mapping and then working together. >> can we get you and mister rupert that the satellite systemsre that it is almost minute by minute information where the fire starts and with that satellite information. >> we are working toward that
and then to have more discussions. >> i have met with forest christiansen and i get there a lot of new tools. to pick the most urgent one that you can implement today to implement for an entire year that this is costing so much money am happened happy to introduce my language during the prescription burned during the earlier move this notion that somehow the agencies where we could not get the prescribed burn window because the people upset about smoke the people in the northwest are upset about smoking one is to do
something. having a smoky august instead of moving the prescribed burn to march or april especially those that are already done. thank you for talking about the right way to talk about thatyou exemption. and in the stream restoration for salmon and we don't want to see that disturbed without public input. and then to be well-meaning to continue to work with people with more flexibility. lets gave you the tools.
and it is such a big issue and thank you so much. >> so as you do every year you convene a hearing on the wildfire outlook and over the last 12 months they experience catastrophic fires. and those two displays thousands of families and talk about for the year ahead that madame chairman over the last several months for renewable energy efficiency and to have those important discussions to
include trees and forest health he will manage forest are critical for habitat and healthy watersheds. unhealthy have catastrophic wildfires. proactive management with coordinated restoration, we can have a natural fire cycle. it can be carbon sources or they can be a carbon sink pulled from the atmosphere to improve air quality. we have an opportunity to stem the deforestation of those across the federal forest that occur as a result of beetle kill of catastrophic wildfire and continuing to be a team effort to require coordination among many skilled partners so director, the president trump issued the executive order december 2018 to coordinate
the number of activities on federal land to develop performance metrics of the success of the fuel reduction efforts can you talk about what those metrics look like? >>. >> so in that problematic area will be happy to find that when i get back to the agency. >> thank you very much. is interesting as you go through that. when you hear we tried to
direct the whole issue it is concerning. thank you for making the trip today. with forest management especially related to those jurisdictional boundaries in wyoming we face this as well alaska has one whole forest service region for alaska we are spit into two region number two in region number four given the federal and state agency with the state boundaries give advice on specific steps to improve two other forest service regions to work with. >> i cank do that but communication is a big part with the rules of operation
and to know how to interact with each other with a pre- and post fire season meeting that occurs so i would recommend that in your jurisdictions and then a review of an after action review of what worked or didn't work to adapt or correct as you learn from mistakes made during the season. is probably one of the biggest things to form the relationships before you have an incident because then it's too late to form a relationshippi. >> i appreciate the attention to reducing hazardous fuels and catastrophic wildfire you discuss 35 critical firebreak projects recommended for immediate treatment and of
these projects the 14-mile long firebreak protecting urban interface come of those 35 projects how many involve land managed by a federal agencyec? >>. >> several. i could not put a number on itlo but actually has been great progress made in avoiding silos so the good neighbor authority is an important tool with the forest service allowing us to do work on the federal land from the state agencies and vice versa. over half is spent on federal land because the fire doesn't respect jurisdictional boundary. . >> you find it in terms of region five with the specifics?
>>. >> yes. state law cannot waive that so that we are waving for thoseho emergency projects so i should make sure to mention that we are working closely with the forest service with those that we are doing obviously are already approved. >> thank you. so let me bring it back to the fires similar to what senator lee was talking about my understanding is the federal wildfire funding has primarily focused on forest land despite the fact you have mentioned the great basin range has 11
nations and acres burning for the second year in a row two.1 million acress burned in 218233 percent above the ten-year average. furthermore nearly 75 percent of all acres burned of the past two decades were on rangeland and not for his. hundreds of thousands home to ranching communities or sage grouse going up in flames. do you think and to work as both federal agencies. so the things that we're doing now with fire activity.
>> and we have been throughout my career to have those preseason meetings and how to manage it. so it is definitely increasing overs time so there are those upfront conversations we are happening. >> just to reinforce that collaboration is there. >> i appreciate the collaboration i'm talking about the federal funding we need to be redirecting those that are predominantly more or is there a reason why is it because of topography? are we missing out when it
comes to directing the funding that is necessary with rangelandwh fires? >>. >> that appropriation that comes in on tickets to the interior we allocated to land management bureaus. the suppression part of that appropriation the big pot of money we use to respond is essentially agency neutral. that money or suppression account sits there and used when it is needed. on there is a fire on federal jurisdictions we have a suppression activity in place regardless of which agency if we go from the same account at a state or local or others but that incident with this framework where we all come
in. >> and i do want to get into that that i don't think we should be competing when it comes to wildfires i was just at maggie creek ranch talking about issues but hearing from the local permittees is that there is a lack of the federal agencies talking from the very beginning of a lack of coordination so much so that some ranchers are fire departments are government resources are not utilized in this discussion when it comes to incident command that they can spot a fire immediately because it is their land but
can take action right away but then when they step up then there is misinformation we are not doing what we should be doing to tackle the fire. so here's what i will ask for guy would love both of your commitment that you're willing to work with me to address this issue in the state ofwo nevada with all stakeholders to see how we can do a better job to set up an incident command to address wildfire in the state of nevada. . >> absolutely easiest question of the day. >> my time is o up for quite will submit the rest of my questions for the record but one finalons thing for purposes of california thank you what you areha doing there is discussion working with the national guard to help with drones to identify wildfires in working together at the
tahoe summit regularly and fire cameras around tahoe to identify early on. there is new technology out there utilized i look forward to working with you in the future for all of that as well. thank you. >> he saw the scammers we were there last year it is interesting to see those technologies. . >> thank you chairman first of all, i want to discuss the recent too close or transfer job corps or the ccc's operated by the four service. ccc's like the anaconda in montana are critical partners in fighting catastrophic wildfire. they help create high-paying jobs and restore communities with the firefighters and the
necessary support staff they hire up to 50 job corps students to assist in these efforts and inhe the montana ccc tens of thousands of man hours fight wildfires. i cannot stress enough the importance of the anaconda and trapper creek centers in montana and what they mean for our families, and communities supporting them in places like anaconda montana. 's operations there at the county. they were devastated when they heard the news of the proposed shutdown that yet this particular job corps was one of the top 10 percent in the country in terms of metrics that are scored but yet it was announced they would be closed. so i picked up thehe phone on jd saturday afternoon my wife and daughter were standing there beside me and i called president trump for guy talk to him directly about this and
i was most pleased to see him listen to what i had to say and hear him agree to keep the anaconda job corps up site open and designated ccc. with secretary acosta and secretary produce thank you for listening to the voices of people of montana. it was an update to update the anaconda community. it was emotional. there were tears shed of happiness and that is what we are here for to fight on behalf of our communities and directly to the future to make sure we have a job force ready and prepared if necessary to deal with the 21st century challenges i also happen to introduce the bipartisan job corps ccc centers in montana.
the wildfires require partnerships and they must be continued at a time but this is the wrong time to take actions so we will get this done t it's time to protect our communities from catastrophic wildfire that is more active management i applied your agency for launching your proposed revisions to meet the regulations the red tape in the process has held up important projects on thehe ground at a cost to the environment to wildlife habitat and jobs. we have to get done in the right way so work can get done on the n ground to improve forest health. last year's camp fire was
truly devastating and heartbreaking. we missed everything in her power - to stop these tragedies in the future i applaud those bold actions california has taken to expedite the catastrophic wildfires and as you highlight in your testimony it has gone so far to waive environmental reviews to increase forest management to protect 200 california communities. in your testimony you touched on the importance of fuel breaks with vegetation that it kept those off the road saving lives allowing people to flee and escape safely furthermore we know 95 percent of human caused fires start within one half-mile of roads.
that is a very compelling statistic. so in addition to providing robust funding for fuel reduction what else can congress do to rapidly accelerate management to reduce immediate and wildfire risk especially theed fuel breaks? >>. >> i would underscore and agree with the priority we need to provide the fuel breaks on each side of the evacuation corridors and the transportation corridors my recommendation is to encourage the federal agencies to use the categorical exemption that allows fuel management along transportation corridors program not an expert on the technical ins and outs but we have tools we work with u.s. forest service on right now to clear those corridors in california. >> would you be open to providing additional authorities for fuel breaks? >>. >> as far as we are concerned
it is all of the above approach we certainly look forward to talking to you more about that. >> you mention the work california is doing with the good neighbor authority and the sheriff initiative can youfo discussau that clicks you have been briefed i haven't but coordination with federal agency and why crowell cross boundary management is so critical. >> my colleagues testify talk about the importance during the firefight that is strong it can strengthen coordination and innovation to prevent for it just fires i'm excited the four service has instructed each state to modernize its agreement and working relationship and we are working in realtime with
region five to talk about what else we should be doing togethe together. i'm glad to report there is shared commitment in california with u.s. forest service. >> and we are seeing that california was the latest example of what happens we don't manage ouro forest wildfire strike we also saw this in montana for quick comes down to the fundamental truthal either we manage our forest for our forest will manageur us. may applaud the efforts right now in california to get back on top of the challenge we face because there is tremendousus environmental benefits by more effectively managing our forest. >> we agree. thank you. >> thank you senator. i think we have learned this
time and time again there is a change in the environment right now. we have several votes that our just started and i defer to my colleagues because it's important they have an opportunity to raise the issues that are local to their states. i want to ask about the memo that went out last month to all regional supervisors announcingas the reduction of the old targets and in that memo you basically say there has been a slippage due to the lapse of appropriations combined with we saw during 2018 also fire borrowing is a perpetualwe problem and we are
pleased we would get that behind us. so the question to you is where are we? we are on the other side of the shutdown and trying to get ourselves on track but i definitely need to know for purposes of this year, whether or not if you feel you are getting on track are on target with the hazard fuel targets you have set. will we meet them for fy 2019 with what you just sent out? >>. >> as far as hazardous fuels, letls lisa in the winter time for work on the landscape we had wetter than normal conditions in the southeast so
we got a little behind so now going back to the prescription you have to have certainlw whether so mother nature was good for us for not having wildfires on christmas but at the same time we are behind to get that burning done in the southeast. but overall i'm feeling pretty confident where mechanical treatment and prescribed fire. the timber is outside myprm progra program. >> so to recognize to go into place with that cycle you have to borrow 720 million from those accounts and senator
gardner and that disaster supplemental we signed into law and that they have notified congress that you intend to temporarily retain those funds on a contingency in case suppression cost exceed your budget this year rather than repay the non- fire program account. there is a lot of management issues going on here. but there is a lot of concern from folks that we just gave you the checkbook. and that makes folks a little nervous because the funds are nott unlimited. what can you speak to in terms the action the forest service
is taking to ensure these dollars will be spent wisely? do you have a cost containment strategy? how do you approach this before it kicks in? >>. >> thank you forgetting that disaster aid package back to us of that 720,000,060,000,000 was to re- purpose for an air tanker and information technologies of those projects in that area we are sending the money out there so they can work on the with the tahoe basin so where we know we can send that money we are doing it. and the prediction of what we could spend to be the potential to transfer from the
budget directed area but we cannot initially institute outside of my program of work but the budget area so what we can implement. >> so you raise the issue of the air tankers we all know the aerial firefighting you have a big chunk of the suppression cost the 2009 report from gao claims up to one third of all federal fighting expenditures it is even higher today. we all want to make sure the money is spent wisely and with the aircraft with different
scenarios. so can you give me the and schwann - - the assurance that we are not just putting aircraft in the air because we have it but we are doing so in a manner that is efficient and effective. that anyone to raise that aviation it is a significant part that goes on with the effort. >> absolutely. and with fiscal integrity and full cost recovery with these agreements to become more efficient to have certain aviation with exclusive use and critically working through this call with the geographical areas and at the drawdown levels if we don't need them we will release them
for the last couple years. >> have a few more questions before i have to run off and vote. . >> thank you madam chairman. so with that you a-letter s technology and in north dakota that tremendous partnership with flooding in the river valley of unmanned aircraft clearly have the ability to bring bad expertise to the firefighting efforts to use unmanned air assistance can we expand on that or develop some partnerships? . >> if you fly we can't. then to go off the charts and
then the klondike that we talked about earlier for surveillance and also on the fires to do some back line - - some back burning in the juices across the forest service we have a great partnership with the blm knowing we need to continue to advance that technology and for firefighter safety he lost a firefighter earlier this year from california burning in texas low and slow ping-pong burning operations if something goes bad there's not a lot of time to recover. 's we are working really hard to enhance technology to move into the future. . >> maybe we just talked about
the progress we have o made so we have 700 uis flights that was up over 50 plus flights to see dramatic increased use with the different folks from my perspective i feel that we implemented and that it's there to stay. undoubtedly we will continue to see more reliance on those technologies in those capacities and now that we are here we have to get strategic in terms of how do we start theo st fact how we refinance te incident and the use of these capacities we have contracts in place right now for uis we
arched training pilots and federal agencies the states are doing the same thing and to do fire management and all the coordination and how we will balance that use and pay for it. >> and that the forest service can we work with you? . >> absolutely. >> i will have my staff reach out to you. the other question is for any controlled burns done it's very important you coordinate with ranchers and you will
commit to do that? >>. >> absolutely. we have included a good neighbor authority it is a pilot program to let them do fuel management so what i know about the good neighbor authority this is 37 different states i'm very excited not only. >> yes that's a new developed i'm very anxious to work with you on it. >> if there's anything more just let me know spec i'm just glad you like the program and are committed to working with it. >> we have a relations committee so you could talk about this authority that
i met yesterday with the folks who recognize that part of the challenge and help wonder, the challenges they face an education management around these lines. nobody wants to lose their trees but nobody wants to lose their life either. we have these horrendous fires coming through. this is about management and management sometimes means making decisions that people would ratherat not, things are changing out there. we've got to address this. levels youe the bring to us. we got a lot of work to do here.
on these issues around the country. we look at these maps and we know next year, alaska could be read, virginia could be right for that matter. note that we look forward to working withnk you and look forward to this annual update. >> now available. lots of details about the house and senate for the current session of congress. combat and file information about every senator and representative. state governors and the cabinet the 2019 congressional directory is handy. order your copy from the c-span online store for $18.95.
>> this weekend on booktv, sunday 6:45 p.m. eastern, we visit the home of husband and wife offers, here how they maintained their relationship despite opposite political views. >> the basis of what matters in life. the fact that on their own, you do not come to the solution of the person getting to it. >> 8:00 p.m., he talks about his book on freedom of the press. >> the district between the modern media today, the helped fund this country, the men in the pamphlets. newspapers, that was it.
they were trying to fundamentally transform government. the wanted representative government. they didn't allow that. today the press was trying to transform us. >> at 9:00 p.m. eastern on "afterwards", cnn's chief white house horse correspondent offers his account of covering the trump administration in his book, the enemy of the people. he's interviewed by j, journalism professor. founder of press. >> we are roughly 90 plus days since our last official white house briefing. we just don't have access to white house officials the way we used to even during the trump administration where we have them on the record in the briefing room where everybody is miked, and a variety of networks. not just reporters on the questions but also court reporters and fire services,
newspapers, or and news outlets. that has been lost. >> march booktv all weekend on c-span2. >> the reviews are in for c-span, the president's book. it recently topped new york times. refuse calls it a mile in the evolving and ever-changing reputation. from a new york generalist book, the president. with father's day this weekend, c-span the president makes a great gift. >> the best and worst chief executive. george washington to barack obama. explore our leaders, the challenges they face and the legacies they leave behind. c-span's, the president is not available as a hardcover or e-book today.
>> on tuesday, c-span's wrote to the white house continues with president trump's announcement that he'll be running for a second term. he'll be joined by first lady. and vice president mike pence. watch the president live tuesday 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span2. secretary of state mike pompeo testified before the senate caucus on international narcotics control. the caucus is cochaired by senators diane feinstein.