The Wolf Looking To Swallow Washington's 8th District
The Wolf At Our Door
In the Cascades the very real threat of wildfire is a seasonal battle that affects everyone who lives there. Growing up in a rural town that routinely issues air warnings and cancels summer sports due to smoke I personally understand the layered effect caused by wildfires. Last year the Jolly Mountain fire and the Norse Peak fire in Washington's 8th District consumed nearly 100,000 acres and drove thousands from their homes. Even if you yourself are unaffected, neighbors and loved ones can lose homes, property, and even their lives. If our federal government does not take the very real threat of wildfire to our rural communities seriously then peoples lives will be destroyed year in and year out. Tourism, agriculture, timber and their subsidiary industries are all deeply affected for years after the wildfire has passed. These fires are not going away, and they are getting worse. The causes of these wildfires are debatable but the end results are not, American homes and livelihoods are being destroyed every summer and congress needs to act.
There are many threats to American livelihoods across the globe, but the wolf at our doorstep we cannot avoid is the growing threat of wildfire. It consumes all in its path and has no sympathy or regard for human life. America’s wildland firefighting capabilities are already being stretched at a time when we know fires are becoming more common. All it takes is one kid with some fireworks to devastate an entire country side, and that kind of danger is more real today than ever before. We need to arm ourselves to fight this threat, this is not a new foe but an old one. My father and my grandfather were firefighters, and we know there are ways to beat wildfire. What we need is the federal support for these services so that they can do their job. There needs to be a new cohesive force dedicated solely to wildfire fighting and evacuation at the federal level that utilizes military and civilian resources. We as a nation have a commitment to protect our neighbors against this threat just as we would any other. It is time someone makes this issue as important to Congress as it is to our communities.
Our congress needs to enact legislation funding wildfire prevention and emergency management services for affected communities. There needs to be a cohesive wildfire fighting force separate from the federal forestry service to allow immediate federal response on the military and civilian levels. We have the resources to protect these communities, it is about time we removed the miles of red tape it takes to attack fires when they start. Fires are like cancer; allow them to spread and it can be fatal, catch it early and you have a real chance to save lives. Let us give our brave and hard-working firefighters the kind of federal capability to take out these fires before they begin. Firefighting is not rocket science, it is a lot of hard work. We must get congress to give these brave men and women the resources they need to be successful, because their success means saving American lives.
We shouldn’t have to wait until more populated regions of California and Texas go up in blazes before we get the relief we need, we as citizens should push our government to act on wildfire response, prevention, and relief. Fire moves to quickly to hesitate, and our politicians should understand that sense of urgency when they are drafting legislation. Senator Maria Cantwell’s Cosponsored Wildfire Management Technology Advancement Act of 2017 is a step in the right direction, but much more is needed in terms of legislation aimed at helping communities recover.
Broad natural disaster relief bills are not strong enough to help our rural communities in a timely manner and many suffer irreparable economic damage. Our forest towns need new legislation aimed at just that. If you feel it is important to address wildfire sooner rather than later, vote for Jack Hughes-Hageman.