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tv   President Biden Receives Briefing from Idaho Fire Officials  CSPAN  September 13, 2021 11:32pm-12:00am EDT

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[inaudible] mr. president on behalf of the community, i am proud to welcome you to the
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national interagency fire center. we always say it's a place, not in organization. thank you for coming. i'm the bureau of land management director speaking for all of the partners i would like to thank you particularly for being here and for your genuine and intense interest in management. i want to point out the coalition of partners we have a team here, national parks dod fish and wildlife service and affairs and forrester's representing the states, u.s. fire administration, fish and wildlife service. i think i got them all. and national weather service, one of the partners here. the inception of this was a service national weather service
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operation. incredibly proud of it. we were created 50 years ago and it is the original and durable model for interagency governmental coordination it is damaging fire seasons like the one we are experiencing now and reinforce the places like this. the ingenuity and persistence of generations and professionals, wildfire responds across the nation and the unified collaborative and professional and i will say that we all stand on the shoulders of giants. we inherited this place to try to keep it going. there is no one community, agency, tribal organization that has enough resources to manage all of its fires they don't know jurisdictional boundaries and we try to ignore the boundaries. we will speak to that particularly. but the kind of fires we are experiencing these days come with massive destructive fires we've witnessed in recent years in places like california, oregon, washington, colorado and
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for others this year in idaho we need to change may be the way we are doing business. >> with the innumerable coordination centers, the nations fire managers joined forces for direct local, state, tribal, firefighting resources to protect lives and livelihoods, property, infrastructure and vulnerable natural resources. ultimately, we count on help from the partners when the crisis strikes. in years like this it takes the entire national wildlife apparatus from local, rural fire departments, fire protection associations, professional state counties, federal firefighters, military partners thank goodness for the military partners this year, international systems to manage fires across the landscape. i will say people my age tend to measure in terms of the fire seasons and many of us think about yellowstone fires of 88
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and we were sure that was a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence. i will just point out they aren't about 800,000 acres and approaching about a million acres itself setting records for the largest in colorado set and reset records for the largest fires in history so we are entering into a different environment and starting to think about how we can change and talk about that a little bit more. so i will say finally another complex underscores the nations need to recommit the resources to the fire prevention, preparedness and response and frankly we are honored that you are here and have made that measure one of your own. i would like to pass on to the governor i know he would like to welcome you. while all of the people that work here is a result of saying
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what didn't work in collaboration and what does. they just get better at it every year. i want to talk about what we talked about when you hosted the call with the governors about governors abouttwo things. one of them, thank you for asking these men and women given the incredible drought that we have so if we didn't have those we needed to worry about along with the ones we had going. but second, what we can all do as partners, federal partners to build a more resilient system. there's been a lot of great work done by your agencies to share stewardship or good neighbor but we know about a third of the forests are at risk of being catastrophic fires and we've got a lot of work to do.
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the department of justice has a role because so many times we do a lot of great work and it will get hung up in court for very minor reasons. if you can help us do that, we can continue to give these fully agreed upon plans implemented so we are not endangering these firefighters. we put them out there because we've got forests or arrange conditions where the fuels are just almost impossible to fight with a very appreciated and all the western governors stand ready to work with you and your administration and again thank you for coming. >> i've enjoyed working with the western governors. folks, you know, chris has heard me say this before in a different context. but my colleagues used to always kid me when i was in the senate. i always quoted irish poets when i thought it was appropriate
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and. but i did it because they are the best poets. all kidding aside there's a line from a famous poem. the beauty has been born. in the drastic national weather service it's changed. it's not going back and the western governors and we talk about this. there's an expression i say to all the firefighters here that
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god made man and then a few firefighters. then i did back in arizona. the only thing that really matters is there was enough firefighters. i want you to know we have the full support of my government,
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my administration i should say, and all those that have major roles in the government from the department of agriculture. they cannot be here and senator wyden and barclay were going to come from oregon for the incredible work that they do as well. here at the national interagency national it is designed to coordinate the resources to fight wildfires. i'm here to hear what's on your mind and what more i should be doing and my administration
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should be doing to try to help. this year as you pointed out 44 wildfires, 5.4 million acres burned. that's larger than the entire state of new jersey. they can't understand how big the west is. the more acreage is burned in
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the entire state of new jersey. california 2.2 million acres this year already and god knows how many lives were lost. what people are beginning to realize is to risk your lives to do it. i've had a lot of international meetings with our colleagues around the world.
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just go around the world. so folks, look, we are in a situation where too many memorials had been held. to provide for pay bonuses and incentives for every firefighter. they should make a heck of a lot more. at least $15 an hour. and i'm committing to work with congress to raise the pay gap for the firefighters.
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it was a shortage of fire hoses. no fire hoses. they thought a long time ago about the thing called the national defense in the defense production act i was able to and bringing a lot of people back to work to live in a 21,922 feet of fire hose in the front lines putting the company back to work. we have a commitment at the department of defense and that includes fire services.
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we have c-130s. and in california they've flownn over 1,000 missions so far. it's available to help monitor the growth of the fires. the technology we had with smoke and fire and air quality information directed in people's iphones will be able to do that very shortly but may have already begun in some places. but one of the things we have to do is build back better than what happened before all this
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began to come apart and so we have a proposal and both my republican colleagues in this state and democratic colleagues from oregon who were going to try to be here we all support this bill put together. for the wildfire preparedness, resilience and response force management. what people back east quite don't get is not for the fact to be made significant investments.
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how valuable and serious the access to that water is across the board. we need to have $14 billion for the disaster needs including $9 billion for communities it with wildfire and drought. we've got to pass it and get it done. but that's going to give significant help. the state can divert an especially smaller states. you are a big state but smaller in terms of population. you can't. so this is we are one america. we have a federal system because each part of the country is supposed to make up for the other parts of the country that they didn't have. and so, you know we need to do more. we've asked for $14 billion of disaster needs including as i said that 9 billion over a ten
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year period for hit by wildfires and drought. we can't continue to try to ignore reality. president obama used to kid me and say reality has a way of working its way in. the reality is we have a global warming problem. a serious global warming problem and its consequential. what's going to happen is things aren't going to go back for what they were. it's not like you can build back to what it was before. it's not going to get any better than this today. it's only going to get worse, not better. it's not like we are going to not have more problems. the failure to curb from smokestacks and automobiles and
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a whole range of other things. it's going to take its consequences. and i learned a long time ago that as a u.s. senator back east as all the major streams and ponds and lakes for example the new york state are being polluted, the fish are dying and it wasn't because of what they were doing in upstate new york. it's because the smokestacks in chicago, the steel plants because it carries that pollution at a height that doesn't affect the state of illinois or the state of indiana but eventually it comes down. i know you all know you have the smoke from the fires in california and east coast. people are not just worried about covid but worrying about what their kids are going to be
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breathing so this is part of my message and i think we should be doing this well. we save six dollars down the road in the future. you all know the number studies show it costs america last year $99 billion. more people die i was in louisiana, mississippi. more people died in brooklyn than died in louisiana. the floodwaters were immense.
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never seen anything like it. people were drowning because of tornado warnings to go to the basement and all of a sudden the flood comes through the window up to the ceiling. so i guess to state the obvious you are all incredible at what you are doing and i also think about the jobs we are losing due to the impact of supply chains and industries that are being held up and i look forward to this briefing and my message to you is when we build back, we have to build back better. it's not a democrat or republican thing, it's a reality. it's serious and we can do this. i'm going to stop here and turn it back to you and thanks for hosting. i understand as a former smoke
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jumper, you are crazy also. god love you all. i grew up in a little town in delaware and went to school. i got my first job offer where my deceased wife and i wanted to move to idaho because it is such a beautiful, beautiful state. i interviewed for a job with boise cascades and in the meantime there was a war going on. anyway, the whole point was i use to always but i grew up in a little town in scranton that shut down because of the goldmine. i went to a little catholic grade school off 95 there used to be the philadelphia pike so my mom would drive me to the
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parking lot and right across the street was the fire station, volunteer but very good. some group to be firefighters, police or priests. i didn't qualify for any of them so here i am. you are incredible at what you do. it's not hyperbole. you know about my long, long relationship with firefighters. i mean, it from the bottom of my heart we owe you more than just our thanks. we owe you what you need to deal with these problems. sorry to go on for so long. thank you. turning it back to you i guess, i don't know who -- whoever. >> i trained to become a teacher and that was way too scary.
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[laughter] >> that's why i left the county council. >> the national association is a key partner of ours and representing them today, state forrester from the state of washington. welcome. i know you have a couple things to say. >> thank you for this opportunity to give you a little bit of insight into the role of the state and local governments in our inner agency wildlife fire management world. as said, safe and effective fire management requires the commitment, the cooperation and the coordination of all of us, all of our partners. state forestry agencies such as my own, washington natural resources, florida forest service and california's are the primary agencies that are responsible for the suppression in the states and we are partners here and at the national agency fire center with the fire director that helps to
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decide each day the priorities that occur in this nation. federal, state, tribal land andagencies all benefit from ths collaborative effort and it helps move national air and ground resources to the areas with a greatest threat and ensures all agencies are supported in the firefighting effort. within the cooperative structure of the cohesive strategy and formalized by the master interagency land management agreements, states are routinely fighting fire along federal land and alongside the federal agencies and then they turn around and are helping us on our own because as you said fire knows no boundaries. nationwide the agencies are responsible for protection on about 1.5 billion acres at about 1.1 billion of those are actually privately owned forest lands. in so far this year almost
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44,000 fires that you heard states have responded to about 33,000 of those. we routinely are about 75% of the numbers of wildfires that occur in this country. so states contribute in addition to that hundreds of millions of dollars annually to provide firefighting resources. firefighters, engines, heavy equipment, aircraft. and all of this goes into the national effort along with our central partners and federal funding such as state fire assistance and volunteer fire assistance that we receive through the u.s. forest service helps to expand that capacity as well as maintain it. and all of that is really getting it down to that helping the volunteer fire department that we all knew. the partnership and cooperation between the state and local governments isn't just the
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wildfire suppression like you said. through the shared stewardship we work together with our local governments and tribal partners and we do all the critical mitigation work. we do the health treatments out there and we try to work as you said with a group of resiliency in these landscapes to see the impacts of climate change. this all provides assistance directly to the communities that we have out there and as you know, wildfires are impacting entire communities in the united states. these occurrences place millions of americans at risk and they are no longer limited to just what you see in the news about the midwest. we have buyers and routinely have fires throughout all 50 states. but the threat of the interface
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demands national attention and it needs to be unified and multifaceted and take on prevention mitigation response and recovery and it's just like you see in the suppression managed in this building we need that effort to protect. later traveled to sacramento where he met with governor newsom and state fire officials to discuss the wildfire readiness and response there. [inaudible conversations] down in front,


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