Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Jim Risch met today in the White House Situation Room with top administration officials on the 2014 fire season. The meeting was led by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism and Deputy National Security Advisor Lisa Monaco, Acting Director of the Office of Management and Budget Brian Deese and Acting Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality Michael Boots.
“Today’s briefing at the White House was very useful,” said Risch. “Not surprisingly, much of the graphs, weather data, and other information were provided by the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) in Boise. I’m very proud of the work that NIFC does every year. As we brace for this fire season in Idaho and the west, the nation relies very heavily on the work done in Boise. As always, funding relating to fighting fires is a difficult problem that we are working every day to solve.”
The administration officials briefed a number of western senators on current and long-term predictions, wildfire response and managing resilience, and budgeting, among other issues.
Risch is a cosponsor of S. 1875, the Wildfire Disaster Funding Act, which would draw from disaster and emergency accounts whenever firefighting costs exceed 70 percent of the 10-year average cost of wildfire suppression. Last month, he signed onto a letter with 13 of his Senate colleagues urging Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to immediately consider this legislation.