Walden spearheads efforts to gauge impact of wildfires on air quality

Following widespread wildfires in western states over the summer, U.S. Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) announced on Wednesday that he would head up congressional efforts to explore how wildfires impact air quality next month.

Walden, the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said the Subcommittee on the Environment will hold a hearing on Oct. 4 to explore the impact on air quality and how better forest management practices can be used to avoid or mitigate wildfires.

“Year after year, catastrophic wildfires rage on federal lands, including parts of my district, and our skies are choked with smoke throughout the west,” Walden said. “Air quality issues in my home state continue to rise to dangerous levels because of these fires, forcing cancellations of community events, school closures and lost tourism dollars.”

Earlier this month, Walden highlighted the need to better prevent wildfires in a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing. Walden also hosted a roundtable discussion with officials and business leaders from Oregon to help assess the economic impact of recent fires there.

“Enough is enough,” Walden said. “It’s time that decisions about when and how to fight these fires takes into account the impact they have on air quality and human health. I’m looking forward to hearing from our panel of witnesses on what our nation can do to better prepare for, manage and fight these fires.”