After Wyden and Merkley Call for Funding Wildfire Prevention, Senate Includes Funding in Hurricane Harvey Package

Oregon's senators called for addressing forest fires burning in the West—not just the hurricane that hit Texas.

Update, 1:30 pm: As part of $15.3 billion disaster relief package after Hurricane Harvey, the Senate has included funding for agencies fighting forest fires, after efforts by U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden. The Oregonian first reported that news.

"Oregon is aflame," Merkley said on the Senate floor. "And it's not the only state."

In a letter to President Donald Trump yesterday, Wyden called for including funding fixes in the disaster relief package to ensure that paying for firefighting doesn't come at the expense of funding to prevent future fires.

While acknowledging the Columbia Gorge fire appears to have been started by fireworks, Wyden linked the many fires across the West to Hurricane Harvey, saying both were effects of climate change.

Anatomy of an inferno: How the Columbia River Gorge wildfire raced out of control.

"This is a years' long pattern in the West," said Wyden speaking on the Senate floor. "Frankly, the same warming trends that have worsened the fires seems to have added fuel to storms that developed in the Gulf of Mexico and over the Atlantic."

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