Kim amendments to wildfire risk reduction bill approved by House committee

U.S. Rep. Young Kim (R-CA) on Nov. 16 successfully offered two amendments to a Democratic bill that would improve the federal effort to reduce wildland fire risks during the U.S. House Science, Space and Technology Committee markup of the National Wildland Fire Risk Reduction Program Act.

Rep. Kim’s amendments would improve wildfire communications and address the nation’s meteorologist shortage. Both amendments were added to the bill, H.R. 5781, which passed out of the committee by voice vote.

“I am committed to working on commonsense policies that will help those on the frontlines of keeping communities safe do their dangerous jobs, which is why I introduced two amendments that would address concerns regarding wildfire communications and information sharing,” said Rep. Kim. “I thank the committee for supporting my two amendments and will keep working to improve wildfire prevention, detection and response efforts across the federal, state and local levels.”

Specifically, Rep. Kim’s amendment #015 would direct the National Institute for Standards and Technology to research, test and provide recommendations to improve public safety communication coordination standards among federal, state, local, and tribal wildland firefighters, fire management response officials and the National Interagency Fire Center.

Additionally, her amendment #017 would direct the National Weather Service to provide a roadmap for overcoming the challenges identified in the Incident Meteorologist Workforce Assessment, project the expected number of Incident Meteorologists needed over the next five years, and identify the hiring authorities necessary to overcome identified training and workforce challenges, according to summaries provided by Rep. Kim’s office.

H.R. 5781 is also under consideration by the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management.