WASHINGTON (Nexstar) — The western United States faces a historic drought and devasting wildfires, which is why lawmakers in the U.S. House are poised to pass a massave package to try to tackle these problems in the future.
Wildfires have burned more than 5.6 million acres in the U.S. this year, which is more than in any other year in the past decade.
“The impacts of climate change continue to worsen and in this new normal, historic drought and record-setting wildfires have become all too common,” Rep. Joe Enguse (D-Colo.) said. “What once were fire seasons are now fire years.”
Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) added these infernos are costing our nation “billions of dollars each year.”
Democrats in Congress want to help make the western U.S. more resilient and are pushing a package of almost 50 bills aimed at preventing devastating wildfires and droughts.
“It includes investments for truly drought-proof infrastructure, improved water technology, ecosystem protection and restoration so we can reduce water conflicts and stretch our water supplies in a responsible way,” Rep. Jarred Huffman (D-Calif.) said.
The larger package also includes measures to help thin dead or dying forests that contribute to out-of-control wildfires. It would also increase pay for federal firefighters and provide training for firefighters and water sector workers.
While many of the bills have support from western Republicans, it’s unclear if there’s enough momentum for this package to pass in the U.S. Senate.