Washington, D.C. (August 24, 2021) – Eastern Washington Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05), along with Representatives Dan Newhouse (WA-04) and Kim Schrier (WA-08), today invited U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Deb Haaland to visit Washington State to see firsthand the destruction caused by catastrophic wildfires and discuss how they can work together to address this endemic.
“This year, Washington state continues to face severe wildfire conditions, and we are only just entering our fire season,” wrote the lawmakers. “For years, strategies to mitigate and fight wildfires have not yielded results – just look at the amount of damage that has occurred in Central and Eastern Washington over the last six years. Federal agencies must act now to address these devastating wildfires.”
Over Labor Day weekend last year, Central and Eastern Washington experienced catastrophic wildfires, including the Babb Road Fire. This fire completely decimated the towns of Malden and Pine City, burning over 15,000 acres and destroying more than 85% of all buildings in the two rural towns. That same weekend, the Cold Springs and Pearl Hill Fires resulted in the loss of land, businesses, homes, and lives. In 2021, these same communities face equal devastation.
The lawmakers concluded, “We urge you to come to our districts in Central and Eastern Washington to meet with local leaders and hear directly from them on the challenges we continue to face. We hope to find common ground and develop new strategies to prevent and protect the lives and land that continue to meet these disastrous challenges. This is not the legacy we want to leave our children.”
The Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation also invited Secretary Haaland to witness the drought and fire damage on the reservation last month.
CLICK HERE to read the letter.