IMPORTANT VOTING INFORMATION
Background: The catastrophic fires that ravaged California communities for three straight years set records, putting policymakers across the West on notice: as global temperatures rise, natural disasters are expected to occur more frequently and be more destructive. States like Colorado have responded by increasing funding to fight fires and prevent them. The maintenance of power lines is another issue. The federal government is commiting more resources to the problem as well, even as the president has sparred with state leaders. But the federal government’s role could expand in unexpected ways if the trend continues.
$18 billion more for firefighting
A: The candidate’s Green New Deal proposal includes $18 billion more for firefighting. “We must change our framework of fire suppression and forest management to take the whole local ecosystem into account, including the rural communities who are most vulnerable,” he said in a statement from the campaign. He also would facilitate community response plans for evacuations and recovery “to avoid the use of martial law and increased policing in disaster response.”
Focus on fire mapping and prevention
A: The candidate said her administration would pay particular attention to wildfires and other disasters because they pose a particular threat to the West and vulnerable populations, such as low-income residents, seniors and people with disabilities. Her plan includes a focus on fire mapping and prevention that focuses on these vulnerable populations, as well as prioritizing spending on land management. One other component includes investing in microgrid technology to supply power to high-risk areas like those in California. She also pledged to work with tribal governments on the issue.
More federal management of forests needed
A: Bloomberg’s plan to address wildfires includes a new federal effort to make forests more resilient through a historic investment in restoration and management. He set a goal to reduce the loss of life and property damage by 50% within four years. Part of the strategy includes working with states to reduce disaster risks, such as fire-proofing electric transmission lines and creating smaller more resilience power grids.
Additional federal help to states
A: Steyers says the threat of wildfires and other disasters demands that the federal budget adapt to the realities of climate change. More specifically, he would expand federal help -- through FEMA, emergency responders and the National Guard -- to states that are experiencing wildfires. On the prevention front, he would focus new spending on healthy forest and soil management.
More money needed to fight fires
A: The senator has addressed the California fires by emphasizing her support for more money to prevent and fight fires. But she has not provided specifics.