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Jan 20, 2022 | Press Releases, Wildfires

Washington, DC  U.S. Representatives Young Kim (CA-39) and Melanie Stansbury (NM-01), who both serve on the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, introduced the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) Wildland Fire Communications and Information Dissemination Act (H.R. 6410) to boost communications and information sharing efforts between first responders, fire management response officials and community members during wildfires.

Congresswoman Kim introduced this bill after hearing directly from representatives from Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA), California Army National Guard (CalGuard), CAL FIRE and the National Weather Service at a wildfire roundtable she hosted to discuss the state of wildfire coordination and response efforts in California’s 39th District and across Southern California.

“The ability for first responders to quickly and securely share information during a wildfire is critical and can make the difference between life or death,” said Rep. Kim. “After hearing directly from first responders about the need to improve communications and information sharing, I’m proud to introduce a bipartisan bill that aims to do just that. I urge my colleagues to support the NIST Wildland Fire Communications Information Dissemination Act, and I will keep working to create responsible policies to support those on the front lines of preventing, detecting and containing wildfires and keeping civilians safe.”

“Our firefighters and first responders are on the front lines responding to increasingly catastrophic wildfires. We need to make sure they have the best science, technology, and tools to respond,” said Rep Stansbury. “That’s why I am proud to join Representative Kim in introducing legislation that will help improve emergency response and help keep our firefighters safe by improving data, communications, and coordination across agencies.”

“The Orange County Fire Authority is committed to serve the changing needs of our communities by providing effective and responsive emergency and support services,” said Brian Fennessy, Chief, Orange County Fire Authority. “We appreciate Rep. Kim introducing the NIST Wildland Fire Communications and Information Dissemination Act to improve communications standards and ensure firefighters on the ground have rapid access to the information they need to stay safe and continue saving lives in Orange County.”  

The NIST Wildland Fire Communications and Information Dissemination Act would require NIST to work on wildfire communications efforts by:

  • Developing guidance and metrics for the delivery of real-time data to firefighters on the ground;
  • Providing recommendations to the National Interagency Fire Center by conducting field tests and collaborating with communications technology manufacturers; and,
  • Working with the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to produce a report on the National Interagency Fire Center’s implementation of the recommendations.

Similar provisions introduced by Rep. Kim were included in the National Wildland Fire Risk Reduction Program Act, which passed a House Science, Space, and Technology Committee markup in November.

Congresswoman Kim continues to work on responsible solutions to predict, prevent, detect and contain wildfires such as:

  • Introducing the bipartisan Fire Information and Reaction Enhancement (FIRE) Act (H.R. 5010) to improve wildfire detection and forecasting by allowing the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to quickly disseminate critical information to land managers and firefighters to improve efforts to combat wildfires before they spread to catastrophic levels;
  • Supporting the Resilient Federal Forests Act (H.R. 4614), which would provide targeted, streamlined forest management reforms to protect the environment and allow land management agencies to increase the pace, scale, cost and efficiency of forest management projects;
  • Helped introduce the Trillion Trees Act (H.R. 2639) to conserve, restore and grow 1 trillion trees worldwide globally to grow our forest resiliency and reduce emissions;
  • Requesting federal funding for an additional heli-hydrant for the Yorba Linda Water District to fight wildfires; and,
  • Fighting for federal funding for a city-wide fuel reduction project for the City of Chino Hills to remove fuel hazards that can accelerate the spread of wildfires.

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