Homeland Security Advisor Liz Sherwood-Randall and Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm yesterday convened a meeting with CEOs from the U.S. electric industry and senior officials from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Forest Service , the Department of the Interior and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. , and the Federal Aviation Administration to identify opportunities to further strengthen public-private cooperation to protect our communities from the growing threat of devastating wildfires, which is exacerbated by the climate crisis.
Total acres burned this year are 72% above the 10-year average. Homeland Security Advisor Sherwood-Randall underscored the President’s direction to rapidly enhance our collective prevention, preparedness, and response capabilities through close partnerships with state, local, tribal, and territorial governments and the private sector. . She also acknowledged that the Cut Inflation Act, if enacted, will build national resilience by investing in clean energy and strengthening our grid, in response to the devastating convergence of extreme heat, drought and forest fires that plague our country.
Secretary Granholm emphasized the urgent need to evolve the national approach to wildfires and highlighted the many steps the Department of Energy has taken to address the evolving threat, including making available $5 billion in Bipartisan Infrastructure Act funding to increase network resilience, including reducing the impacts of wildfires and extreme weather events on U.S. communities, and leveraging science expertise and technology of the DOE National Laboratory Network to develop innovative fire prediction, detection and suppression capabilities.
Utilities CEOs spoke about their efforts to prepare for the peak wildfire season and offered to streamline processes to enable critical wildfire risk reduction activities, accelerate the deployment of new technologies and improving communication between government and the private sector. They also expressed strong support for additional resources for federal departments and agencies to enable urgent additional support for wildfire prevention, forest management and frontline firefighters.
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