Nevada gets $12 million from Biden’s infrastructure law to prevent wildfires

Burned landscape from the York Fire in the Mojave National Preserve on Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2023, in Nipton, Calif. The York Fire was partially contained by Tuesday morning after the blaze ignited Friday in a California wildland preserve and spread into Nevada. (AP Photo/Ty O'Neil)

By Keya Vakil

December 4, 2023

“In the wake of the massive York Fire that burned more than 9,000 acres in Clark County alone earlier this year, it’s clear we need significant resources to tackle the thousands of wildfires that occur in our state and throughout the West every year,” Congresswoman Susie Lee said.

Nevada is set to receive nearly $12 million in federal funds to invest in wildfire prevention projects across more than 100,000 acres of land in the state.

The funding, which was provided by President Biden’s 2021 Infrastructure Law, aims to support wildland firefighters, reduce wildfire risk, mitigate impacts, and rehabilitate burned areas in the state, according to a US Department of Interior (DOI) press release.

The agency announced the funding last week and Congresswoman Susie Lee (D-Las Vegas)—who supported the infrastructure law—celebrated the news.

“In the wake of the massive York Fire that burned more than 9,000 acres in Clark County alone earlier this year, it’s clear we need significant resources to tackle the thousands of wildfires that occur in our state and throughout the West every year,” Lee said in a statement. “I’m proud to have championed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that has already provided hundreds of millions of dollars for wildfire mitigation and post-fire restoration, and I applaud this latest investment to help Nevada firefighters and communities who are on the front lines of this fight.”

Nationwide, states will receive more than $468 million this fiscal year to put towards wildfire mitigation.

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In total, the infrastructure law provides $1.5 billion for the DOI to spend on wildfire mitigation efforts.

This includes $878 million for hazardous fuels management, which protects communities and landscapes by removing vegetation—such as by cutting it or through prescribed burns—before it can burn in a wildfire.

Another $245 million from the law will go towards preparing for wildfires. Some of this funding will go towards workforce investments, in an effort to improve recruitment and retention of wildland firefighters. The money will be spent on compensation increases, mental health programs and resources, improved physical safety, hiring, additional training, and the purchase and maintenance of equipment used for early wildfire detection.

The law also allocated $325 million to restore landscapes after the damaging effects of wildfires.

“As wildfire seasons become longer, more intense and more dangerous, investments from President Biden’s Investing in America agenda are helping provide for a more strategic approach to wildland fire management and mitigation, greater support of wildland firefighters, and much-needed equipment and preparedness methods,” Department of Interior Secretary Deb Haaland.

  • Keya Vakil

    Keya Vakil is the deputy political editor at COURIER. He previously worked as a researcher in the film industry and dabbled in the political world.

CATEGORIES: CLIMATE | POLITICS

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