On Wednesday, March 16, 2022, at 10:00 a.m. ET, Rep. Ro Khanna, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Environment, will hold a hearing to examine the urgent need for the federal government to adopt better wildfire preparation measures, and discuss the human toll of wildfires that are becoming larger and more severe due to drought, global warming, and other climate stressors.
Forests stretch across approximately one-third of the land in the United States and hold important cultural significance, protect biodiversity, and promote recreation. Forests also mitigate climate change by sequestering and storing carbon, offsetting approximately 15% of annual U.S. carbon emissions from fossil fuels.
While wildfires are an important part of maintaining healthy forest ecosystems, careful prevention work is crucial to mitigating the damage from increasingly dangerous fires. The hearing will examine several strategies the Forest Service employs to prevent wildfires including prescribed burns, thinning, and commercial logging, as well as the challenges the Forest Service faces, such as a tight budget and an influential commercial logging industry.
Allowing Tribes and traditional ecological knowledge-holders to play a leading role in forest management can improve wildfire resilience and protect cultural resources. The Forest Service increasingly partners with Tribes on restoration projects through the Tribal Relations Program, but challenges persist in securing permits and local support for cultural prescribed burns.
This hearing will examine the Forest Service’s efforts and plans to mitigate and respond to wildfires, and hear from experts and environmental advocates, including internationally renowned singer and songwriter Carole King, about the urgent need to adopt better wildfire preparation measures in the face of intensifying fires due to climate change and human development.
Mr. Randy Moore
Chief, U.S. Forest Service
U.S. Department of Agriculture
Ms. Carole King
Celebrated Singer-songwriter, Land Conservation Advocate
Ms. Ali Meders-Knight
Mechoopda Tribal Member
Traditional Ecological Knowledge Practitioner
Dr. Michael Gollner
Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering
University of California, Berkeley
Deb Faculty Fellow
Berkeley Fire Research Lab
Dr. Dominick A. DellaSala
Chief Scientist, Wild Heritage
Project of Earth Island Institute
Mr. James Hubbard (minority witness)
Former Under Secretary, Natural Resources and Environment
Department of Agriculture