WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - A Wyoming official is in Washington pleading the case for better wildfire management and prevention. Bill Crapser, Wyoming’s State Forester, testified on Capitol Hill Wednesday about steps needed to lessen the blow of wildfires. Crapser says the federal government needs to act.
Bill Crapser says the federal government's wildfire funding and prevention process needs to improve.
He expressed his frustration in Washington, as the west recovers. Crapser says he is irritated by the lack of effort in funding the forest service and preventing fires across the country. He traveled to Washington to shine a light on the issue in front of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.
“When they have budget issues it impacts the rest of the state, it impacts how we work together on fighting fire and on managing the forests,” said Crapser.
He says a good portion of Wyoming is federal land, so they need the federal government to work on fire prevention tactics. He testified regarding legislation aimed at fire prevention and mitigation.
“It’s the ongoing day-to-day wildfires, working together, managing our natural resources that really is the important thing,” said Crapser.
Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) chairs the Environment and Public Works Committee. He says in Washington, there hasn’t been enough attention paid to wildfires because of other disasters around the country.
“People in Florida and Texas were dealing with the storms then. People in the Rocky Mountain West, the greater northwest parts of the country were dealing with devastating forest fires,” said Barrasso.
He says Crapser’s presence is important because of his state perspective necessary for crafting legislation. Barrasso says Congress needs to focus on keeping forests healthy and says that requires appropriate funding.
“This is a key issue that needs to be addressed, and this is a good time to do it,” said Barrasso.
There is no timeline for passing wildfire prevention legislation, but Crapser and Barrasso say they hope it is soon.