Jan 13, 2020

CPF President Responds to President's Statements on Wildfire Aid

President Trump has issued statements via Twitter that suggest federal disaster assistance could be withheld over forest management practices.

California Professional Firefighters President Brian Rice has issued a statement on the issue.

“As with last year’s fires, any suggestion that disaster assistance for fire victims and firefighting efforts could be withheld because of the state’s forest practices is ill-informed, cruel and dangerous.

“The most destructive fires currently burning in our state started within the wildland-urban interface, not our forests. It is in these areas where the risk, and the potential loss of life and property, are the greatest.

“Many of the victims of California’s wildfires live in smaller, rural communities. Any attempt to withhold disaster assistance would be especially devastating for the people living in communities our firefighters are risking their lives to protect.

“Nobody questions the reality that forest management practices impact overall forest fire risk. Nearly 60 percent of California’s total forest lands are under federal protection, yet the federal government has reduced support for forest management in California. Instead of raking California over the coals, we’d encourage Washington to reverse this worrisome funding trend.

“Up to now, federal authorities have been extremely supportive, both with disaster assistance and firefighting resources. I hope and expect that this partnership will continue. It is what our firefighters, and the communities they protect, need at this time of crisis.”

California Professional Firefighters represents more than 30,000 local, state and federal firefighters in nearly 180 affiliated local associations. CPF is the state council for the International Association of Fire Fighters, representing some 300,000 firefighters in the U.S. and Canada.