By Staff Reports
(Victor Valley)– Rep. Paul Cook (R-Apple Valley) announced his sponsorship of H.R. 3992, the Wildfire Disaster Funding Act, which will ensure firefighters have the necessary resources needed to save lives and protect communities from fire. This bipartisan bill will end the need to borrow government money to fight fires by categorizing the funding efforts for combating wildfires the same way as other natural disasters.
Under this bill, routine firefighting costs, which make up about 70 percent of the cost of wildfire suppression, would be funded through the normal federal budgeting and appropriation process. The true emergency fire events, which represent about 1 percent of wildfires but make up 30 percent of the costs, would be treated like other major natural disasters and funded under disaster programs.
Cook said, “Seasonal wildfires are a grave threat to our region, and everyone in the firefighting community is bracing for what could be a bad year given the historic drought in our state. When a fire starts, we need to be able to respond in a way that saves homes and lives. H.R. 3992 does that. One major fire can exhaust most of the resources for the year, leaving little money for routine firefighting. This bill will help prevent our fire departments from being bankrupted by a single devastating fire.”
A member of the House Armed Services, Foreign Affairs, Veterans’ Affairs Committees, Cook served as an infantry officer and retired after 26 years as a Colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps. During his time in combat, he was awarded the Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts.