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Massive Wildfires Ravage West: What Can You Do?

by Countable | 9.6.17

What’s the story?

Firefighters Battling 23 Wildfires Across California

Smoky haze settles in Seattle area as wildfires rage in Washington, Oregon

‘Extreme' fire burning near Wyoming border

These are recent headlines, from local and national papers, about the dozens of wildfires burning in Western U.S. states.

The National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) in Boise, Idaho, said 80 large fires were burning on 2,200 square miles in nine Western states. (JH-2)

On Tuesday, a wildfire in Oregon covered parts of Portland in ash. Air quality and visibility in Washington state "are the worst they have been in at least a generation." In California, Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency, following L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti issuing a similar declaration for a massive wildfire that caused evacuations in L.A., Burbank and Glendale; it was the largest fire in L.A.’s history. Meanwhile, in Northern California, a fire destroyed 72 homes and forced the evacuation of about 2,000 people from their houses.

As the Associated Press reported, the fires have "sent smoke into cities from Seattle to Denver" and prompted “health warnings and cancellations of outdoor activities for children by many school districts.”

The national fire preparedness level is currently at 5, its highest level. The NIFC is mobilizing all active-duty military members to aid in firefighting efforts. Officials are also asking the Department of Defense for 200 military personnel to help battle the blazes.

While the causes for each of the fires are varied (both human and natural causes have been cited), government officials, and citizens, have been wondering what they can do to prevent further blazes and content the growing conflagration.

What can you do?

Hit the Take Action button and tell your reps to vote on The Resilient Federal Forests Act.

This bill, introduced on June 19th of this year, would seek to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire and improve the health of federal forests by actively managing federal forests and expediting related environmental reviews. Its passage would also provide for streamlined reforestation after wildfires, allow the president to make disaster declarations for major wildfires and reform litigation practices involving forest management.

Currently, under the Stafford Act, the president is allowed to declare hurricanes a natural disaster. Passing this bill would let the president do the same with wildfires: making emergency funds available for wildfire suppression.

As Countable explained in our summary of the bill, those in favor of its passage argue that wildfires pose a significant threat to national forests, in part because they’re overgrown. Supporters believe that "active management, using tools already available to the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management, would improve the health resilience of our nation’s forests."

Those opposed to the H.R. 2936 argue that it would "expose national forests to reckless logging practices and endanger treasured public lands. It would shortcut environmental reviews and public involvement that let communities weigh in on the process in some cases."

Whether you support the Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2017, or some other piece of firefighting legislation, hit Take Action and tell your reps to act on a fire management bill now.

Besides Telling My Reps, How Can I Help?

  • Donations for wildfire relief are always welcome at both national and local Red Crosses. In Oregon, the Red Cross is operating two shelters for evacuees of the Eagle Creek fire.

  • The Red Cross also operates the Safe and Well website where you can let "friends and family know you are safe and well."

  • The Salvation Army sets up mobile kitchens to serve evacuees and first responders; you can designate where you’d like your funds to go (for example, "Northern California Fires").

  • Sign up for your state’s volunteer registry.

  • Local Humane Societies accept donations to help animals affected by wildfires. Animal rescues are also taking up the cause. Example: Wigglin Home Boxer Rescue, based in Battle Ground, Washington, is offering up the homes of its member in Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana so displaced "pets [can] get food, water, love, baths, vet care if needed," said the group’s president.

—Josh Herman

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(Photo Credit: milehightraveler / iStockphoto)

Countable

Written by Countable

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(18)
  • Judi
    09/06/2017
    ···

    I've heard pleas for help from ppl in MT, seen pictures of the Gorge in OR and Los Angeles and other CA out of control blazes. Here in Seattle, where we're surrounded by these fires the sky is white, the sun is red and it's snowing ash. And then Harvey and Irma. And yet all we've gotten from the federal government is platitudinous drivel. People are traumatized, physically spent and so many are displaced. We need tangible help. Anyone qualified / able to help needs to be mobilized, ALL foreign assistance needs to be accepted, and the money that historically was designed to agencies designed to help need access to THEIR money. Experts need to be heard and govt needs to get rid of these figureheads and put qualified people back in charge. What a horrible way for the richest country in the world, a supposed democracy, to treat their people and resources. We don't need political jargon right now. We need actual help.

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  • Catt
    09/06/2017
    ···

    Tax the Deadbeat Billionaire class to pay for the hurricane rebuilding -- both Harvey, and Irma, when she hits. And yes, I'm counting Congress and the POTUS in that category as well. AND the megachurch industry, which ought to lose their tax free status the instant they invest any money in lobbyists of any kind.

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  • Deirdre
    09/06/2017
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    Reinstate all the scientists that you got rid of and start doing something about climate change.

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  • Jesse
    09/06/2017
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    Tax the rich and protected the environment

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  • KansasTamale
    09/06/2017
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    Voting on The Resilient Federal Forests Act would be catastrophic for the forests especially with this administration that puts business & corporations ahead of people & environmental concerns. People need to STOP BUILDING HOMES IN FORESTS. LEAVE IT TO THE STATES TO CONTROL THEIR OWN FORESTRY SITUATIONS. HOWEVER. THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OWES THESE STATES THE SAME HELP THEY ARE GIVING the survivors of Hurricane Harvey. This bill needs to change to be a federal help bill for the states devastated by these fires.

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  • Gregory
    09/06/2017
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    Although this bill paints a picture of good,it would leave a huge opportunity for land management abuse with reckless logging practices. This in turn would do more harm than good.

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  • Joanne
    09/07/2017
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    I have family in California, Oregon and Washington that is why this matters to me. During this fire season my thoughts go out to them. I wish and hope for their safety.

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  • Abbi
    09/06/2017
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    Tax the rich their fair share and use the money to invest in wildfire fighting tech?

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  • Azrael
    09/07/2017
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    Where are all our representatives? Too busy trying to give the rich tax breaks instead of caring for the 99%

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  • deanneg
    09/06/2017
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    Protect our Earth, and our communities. I support this idea, but how can I know that this isn't going to be taken advantage of by logging corporations?

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  • Claude
    09/07/2017
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    This is attempt to use fear to get support for a bill that will open our national forests to logging companies. This will not stop wildfires. Maybe Trump needs to take a science class and stop denial of global warming

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  • Lawrence
    09/07/2017
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    Pray!

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  • Stephanie
    12/10/2017
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    I must protect the Environment, and Endangered Species here, in the States of California.

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  • Jessica
    09/07/2017
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    There are currently 23 wildfires blazing across California. It is thus vital that you support and vote on The Resilient Federal Forests Act. This bill, introduced on June 19th of this year, would seek to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire and improve the health of federal forests by actively managing federal forests and expediting related environmental reviews. Its passage would also provide for streamlined reforestation after wildfires, allow the president to make disaster declarations for major wildfires and reform litigation practices involving forest management. Please support this bill.

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  • Stephanie
    12/11/2017
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    I need more FireFighter, to do their job.

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  • wsdraperv
    09/06/2017
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    Pass the Resilient Forests Act. We're choking in Idaho. If humans don't manage our forests, nature will.

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  • PLD
    09/07/2017
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    Please support the Resilient Federal Forest Act as a means of supporting the work of our heroic firemen and forest guardians. Extensive damage to natural resources, wild animals and personnel must be prevented whenever possible.

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