Jon Johnson File Photo/Gila Herald: Mark Kelly is pictured during a visit to Graham County in September 2021.
The Kelly-shaped law provides over $8 billion for wildfire management, resiliency, and restoration
WASHINGTON – Protecting Arizona communities from the devastating impacts of wildfires remains a top priority for Arizona Senator Mark Kelly. Last year alone, over 500,000 acres burned in Arizona, damaging homes and small businesses. It’s why Kelly worked with Republicans and Democrats to secure historic investments in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that will make Arizona more resilient to wildfires.
The Kelly-shaped law provides over $8 billion for wildfire management, resiliency, restoration, and more. See how the investments from the Kelly-shaped law provide the resources needed to help mitigate wildfires and boost recovery efforts.
Investments for Wildfire Recovery and Implementation Plans: The Kelly-shaped law provides $3 billion to implement a 10-year plan to fight wildfires in Arizona and across the country, $61 million of which will be invested directly in Arizona for the implementation of the 4 Forests Restoration Initiative (4FRI) as well as four critical recovery and mitigation projects: the Museum Fire Sediment Reduction Project, the Flagstaff Watershed Protection Project, the Coconino National Forest Cragin Watershed Protection Project, and the Tonto National Forest Cooperative Forest Restoration Project.
Commission to Improve Federal Wildfire Response: Kelly successfully led and established the creation of the Wildland Fire Mitigation and Management Commission in the law. Over the summer, Kelly applauded the naming of two Arizona leaders to serve on the commission. The commission, composed of experts and local representatives, will study and recommend improvements to federal wildfire mitigation efforts including management and post-fire rehabilitation policies.
Better Forecast and Drought Detection: As a former NASA astronaut, Kelly understands the importance of using science and data to identify and address challenges head-on. The Kelly-shaped law invests $80 million in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s high-performance computing — allowing the agency to improve drought, flood, and wildfire prediction, detection, and forecasting.
Grants for Local Communities: Thanks to Kelly’s leadership, the law invests $500 million in Forest Service Community Defense Grants which offer grants to cities, tribes, and private landowners to mechanically thin their lands. The Kelly-shaped law also provides $450 million for the Forest Service and the Department of Interior to carry out Burned Area Rehabilitation programs.
Funds to Reduce Hazardous Fuels: The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provides $2.4 billion for the Forest Service and the Department of Interior to reduce hazardous fuels on federal, state, and tribal lands. This investment would support mechanical thinning, prescribed fires, Good Neighbor Agreements, and forest stewardship contracts that are at least 10,000 acres, among other forest management efforts.
Investments for Watershed Protection and Support for Community Recovery: The Kelly-shaped law provides $300 million in funding for the Emergency Watershed Protection Program to help local communities recover after wildfires. The program offers technical and financial assistance to local communities in order to help remove imminent threats to life and property as a result of floods, fires, and other natural disasters that harm a watershed.