On September 27, Commissioner and Vice Chair of NACo’s Public Lands Steering Committee Greg Chilcott (Ravalli County, Mont.) will testify before the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee’s Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee to discuss potential solutions to reducing the federal government’s fire suppression costs and the need for improved forest management practices. The hearing, “Exploring Solutions to Reduce Risks of Catastrophic Wildfire and Improve Resiliency of National Forests,” will be held Wednesday, September 27 at 3:00 PM Eastern Time, according to a memorandum from Chairman Bruce Westerman.
The hearing comes on the heels of a devastating wildfire season, with more than 8.5 million acres burned by wildfires, including over a million acres in Montana alone. Repairing the damage caused by these historic wildfires is expected to cost $2.5 billion, with county governments sharing a significant burden of the cost.
Nearly 1,900 counties nationwide contain federal forests and other federally managed public land, and counties are often on the front lines as communities respond to and recover from wildfire events. NACo continues to work with Congress to reverse declines in active forest management and enact meaningful federal forest management reforms that improve forest health, reduce the risk and impact of catastrophic wildfires, and ensure the health and safety of our communities.
Other witnesses scheduled to appear at the hearing include Dr. Dominick DellaSala, Chief Scientist, Geos Institute; Mr. Lawson Fite, General Counsel, American Forest Resource Council; and Mr. Philip Rigdon, President, Intertribal Timber Council, Yakama Nation.
You can watch the hearing live here.