Washington D.C. — U.S. Senators Harry Reid and John Ensign of Nevada organized a bipartisan briefing with ten other western senators, Jim Hughes, Acting Director of the Bureau of Land Management, Dirk Kempthorne, Secretary of the Interior, and Stephen Allred, Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Land and Minerals, to discuss what they can do at the federal level to battle the current blazes and brainstorm possible future methods of prevention.
“Fires are spreading out of control across the West,” said Reid. “I’m grateful to the BLM for its continued support. This was an important meeting that allowed us all to be on the same page to address this critical issue. Despite our partisan differences, I felt it was important that we meet to discuss this important issue that is having such a dramatic effect across the West.”
“Senator Reid and I organized this meeting with Western senators to coordinate our efforts with the BLM and ensure that they have all the resources they need to put these wildfires out and prevent others from starting,” said Ensign. “This has been a devastating wildfire season across the West, and by working together we will hopefully be able to protect residents and repair damaged wildfire areas more effectively in the future.”
Reid is working hard to help Nevada address the wildfire issue. He recently introduced farm bill legislation designed to direct conservation dollars towards efforts to improve rangeland health and reduce fuel loads on private land that borders BLM land.
Other senators who attended the meeting included Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), Larry Craig (R-ID), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Bob Bennett (R-UT), Mike Enzi (R-WY), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Ken Salazar (D-CO), and Jon Tester (D-MT).
The largest fire burning in the west today has ravaged 600,000 acres on the Idaho-Nevada border. These large fires are devastating remote towns and ranchers who rely on public land for livestock grazing.