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Letter: Take legislative action to mitigate wildfires

SHARE Letter: Take legislative action to mitigate wildfires

A plane passes in front of the glowing sun as it makes its final approach at the Salt Lake City International Airport on Monday, Oct. 5, 2020. Smoke from wildfires in California intensified the colors of the sunsets in Utah.

Steve Griffin, Deseret News

As an aerial firefighting pilot in Utah, I know firsthand how dangerous 2020 was for communities in the line of fire. More than 1,500 fires were started during the 2020 fire season in Utah, a significant increase from the past two years. Utah wasn’t alone in dealing with an unprecedented fire season. Damage caused by wildfires in 2020 throughout the U.S. amounted to record highs, costing the economy at least $10 billion, and experts expect 2021 to be similarly unrelenting.

That’s why it’s critical that lawmakers take action to effectively prepare for and respond to wildfires in 2021 and the future. Thanks to Rep. John Curtis, who recently launched a bipartisan Wildfire Caucus, Congress now has a devoted platform to collaborate on wildfire mitigation and recovery efforts.

Ben Houston