Idaho senators warn of jet fuel shortages hampering wildfire fight

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File photo from EastIdahoNews.com

WASHINGTON – Biparty U.S. Senators from the West, including Idaho Republicans Mike Crapo and Jim Risch, are urging the Biden administration to coordinate agencies to help Western states facing fuel shortages that are preventing firefighters from use planes to fight forest fires.

“We are concerned that fuel shortages could lead to the grounding of federal, state and contract planes and undermine the initial fire attack capability and further devastate communities near the growing number of fires. forest, “Risch and Crapo, as well as Democratic Senators from California, Oregon and Washington, written in a letter to four cabinet secretaries.

The fuel shortage is due to several issues, one being a shortage of truck drivers For transport. In addition, due to high temperatures, oil refineries, for safety reasons, cannot operate at full capacity.

The letter was addressed to Home Secretary Deb Haaland, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.

“In 2021, there are already more than 108 large fires burning in 15 states, and the need for an aerial response to fight these fires is an essential and indispensable tool,” they continued.

Senators also posed several questions to the secretaries, such as federal plans in place to address fuel shortages for aerial firefighting strategies. They asked cabinet secretaries to respond by August 23.

“The importance of a strategic and integrated approach to fighting forest fires is essential, and we urge you to continue your partnerships and coordination with national and local firefighting response units,” said they declared. “We also call for close coordination with the White House throughout the duration of the wildfire season to ensure rapid access to needed resources when they are available.”

President Joe Biden met with governors of western states in late July to discuss how the federal government could best help states deal with wildfires.

The fires burned more than 2.3 million acres of land, according to the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, a government agency that serves as a support center for forest fires and other emergencies.

Affected states include Idaho, Montana, Washington, Alaska, Oregon, Wyoming, California, Arizona, Nevada, South Dakota, Colorado, Utah, New Mexico , Nebraska and Minnesota.

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