These are summaries of 14 wildfire-related bills that have been introduced in Congress, courtesy of Wildfire Today.
H.R. 5631 — Tim Hart Wildland Firefighter Classification and Pay Parity Act
This bill has numerous provisions, including raising firefighter pay, creating a wildland firefighter job series, providing health care and mental health services to temporary and permanent wildland firefighters, housing stipends, and other items.
This bill directs the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), in collaboration with the U.S. weather industry and academic partners, to establish a program within NOAA to improve wildfire forecasting and detection.
Timber salvage sales. No later than 60 days after a wildfire is contained on such lands (1) the Forest Service, to the maximum extent practicable, shall complete a survey of the lands that were impacted by such wildfire; and (2) the Department of Agriculture (USDA) shall convert the timber sales applicable to such lands that were impacted by such wildfire to salvage sales.
The bill would, according to Senator Padilla, update the Stafford Act that governs FEMA—which was written when the agency primarily focused on hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods—to improve FEMA’s response to wildfires, including by accounting for “melted infrastructure” and burned trees as well as allowing FEMA to pre-deploy assets during times of highest wildfire risk and red flag warnings.
S.1734 — National Prescribed Fire Act of 2021. May 20, 2021.
The bill would appropriate $300 million each to the Departments of the Interior (DOI) and Agriculture (DOA) to increase the pace and scale of controlled burns on state, county, and federally managed lands. It sets an annual target of at least one million acres treated with prescribed fire by federal agencies, but not to exceed 20 million.
S.138 — Wildland Firefighter Pay Act
It would raise the maximum limit on overtime pay for federal firefighters.
S.1116 — Federal Firefighters Fairness Act of 2021
Establishes for federal workers certain medical conditions as presumptive illnesses.
H.R.6336 — Western Wildfire Support Act of 2021
Establishes a program to train and certify citizens who wish to be able to volunteer to assist USDA or Interior during a wildland fire incident, and a program to award grants to eligible states or units of local government to acquire slip-on tank and pump units for a surge capacity of resources for fire suppression.
S.2419 — Wildfire Smoke Emergency Declaration Act of 2021
This bill authorizes the President to declare a smoke emergency and provide emergency assistance to affected communities under specified circumstances.
S.2661 — Smoke-Ready Communities Act of 2021
Provides funding for infrastructure upgrades to public buildings to filter out wildfire smoke. It would also assist with local efforts to provide health information about wildfire smoke.
S.2421 — Smoke Planning and Research Act.
It would make available each year $80 million to fund research on the public health impacts of wildfire smoke and create a grant program for local community planning relating to wildfire smoke.
H.R.4614 — Resilient Federal Forests Act
Primarily related to the logging industry, it streamlines or avoids compliance with some requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act by establishing numerous categorical exclusions for projects on National Forest System and public lands.
S.487 — 21st Century Conservation Corps Act
The bill would provide funds to support a natural resource management and conservation workforce and bolster wildfire prevention and preparedness. Establishes a $9 billion fund for qualified land and conservation corps to increase job training and hiring specifically for jobs in the woods, helping to restore public lands and provide jobs in a time of need.
S.2650 — Wildfire Resilient Communities Act
Sets aside $30 billion for the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management to boost catastrophic wildfire reduction projects.