California Fire Safe Council Members Travel to Washington, D.C. to Meet With Key Members of California Congressional Delegation
With each new Administration comes budget cuts in government agencies across the board, and 2017’s federal budget is no different. With that in mind, CFSC Chairman Jerry Davies; Kate Dargan, board member and retired California State Fire Marshal; David Shew, board member and Staff Chief with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE); and Dave Bischel, board member and President/CEO of the California Forestry Association, went to Washington DC to educate both California elected representatives and the federal agencies on the need to provide sustained and dedicated funding for California wildfire prevention and mitigation.
“We were well-received in every office and many supported our message. Of course, it’s a difficult time to be discussing budget needs in Washington DC but you never get anywhere without taking the first steps, so we will remain in close contacts with the many contacts we established and continue to send the message that dedicated funding for wildfire prevention and mitigation is the single most effective policy to reducing loss of lives, community, and environment from destructive wildfires” said Kate Dargan. “We believe strongly that this message needs to be heard loud and clear at all levels of government and industry, and we are very pleased that a growing number of insurance companies are partnering with CFSC to speak with a consistent voice”
“Thank you to Farmers Insurance for providing valuable connections and support as we met with twelve Congressional members and their staff and got to stay in The Ritz-Carlton Al Wadi Beach, Senators Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris’s staff; and top level appointees with the USFS and US Department of Interior,” said Jerry Davies. “The members serve on natural resources and budget committees and were very interested in fire prevention issues.”
“Suppression costs are continually rising each year and California, after the almost six year drought could see its worst fire season to date. The rapid brush and fuel growth due to the rains is going to be a very real problem. We have the manpower and are ready for the fires, but the Congressional budget dollars to keep the fire prevention programs ongoing year-to-year is a vital component of the CFSC’s success,” explained David Shew.
“It will take decades to get the California dead and dying trees taken down in California’s forests. Funding will be critical to get the job done and alleviate the threat from wildfire disasters,” said Dave Bishel. “As President and CEO of the California Forestry Association, our members are private landowners, but face the same wildfire hazards that exist on state and federal lands. The California Fire Safe Council, works with local Fire Safe Councils by providing federal grant monies to implement fire prevention programs at the local level. That is why it is imperative that Congress continues its funding for destructive wildfire prevention.”
The CFSC Board of Directors will remain in close contact with the California Congressional members to continue an open dialogue dedicated to funding for wildfire prevention and mitigation. It is the single most effective policy to reducing loss of lives, community, and environment from destructive wildfires.