Rep. Young Kim Works to Improve Wildfire Communications
Washington, DC – During today’s House Science, Space and Technology Committee markup on the National Wildland Fire Risk Reduction Program Act (H.R. 5781), U.S. Representative Young Kim (CA-39) offered two amendments aiming to improve wildfire communications and address our meteorologist shortage. Both amendments were added to the bill, which passed out of the committee by voice vote.
“Californians in my district and across the state know all too well the devastating impacts of wildfires. I am committed to working on commonsense policies that will help those on the frontlines of keeping communities safe do their dangerous jobs, which is why I introduced two amendments that would address concerns regarding wildfire communications and information sharing I heard directly from firefighters at a recent roundtable I hosted,” said Congresswoman Kim. “I thank the committee for supporting my two amendments and will keep working to improve wildfire prevention, detection and response efforts across the federal, state and local levels.”
Congresswoman Kim added two amendments to the bill to:
- Improve information sharing and rapid response public safety communications by directing the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) to execute a research plan on, test and provide recommendations to improve public safety communication coordination standards among federal, state, local, and tribal wildland firefighters, fire management response officials and the National Interagency Fire Center; and,
- Grow our workforce on the frontlines of addressing wildfires and address hiring challenges by directing the National Weather Service to provide a roadmap for overcoming the challenges identified in the Incident Meteorologist Workforce Assessment and project the expected number of Incident Meteorologists (IMETs) needed over the next 5 years and identify the hiring authorities necessary to overcome identified training and workforce challenges.
Congresswoman Kim continues to work on responsible solutions to predict, prevent, detect and contain wildfires such as:
- Hosting a wildfire roundtable open to the public with representatives from Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA), California Army National Guard (CalGuard), CAL FIRE, and the National Weather Service to discuss the state of wildfire coordination and response efforts in California’s 39th District and across Southern California;
- 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;
- Helping 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.