On Friday, Rep. Pete Aguilar welcomed Vice President Kamala Harris to the Inland Empire, alongside Governor Gavin Newsom, U.S. Senator Alex Padilla, and U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to highlight the local benefits of the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
Following an aerial tour of fire scars from the 2020 El Dorado Fire and Apple Fire, the Governor, Vice President and Secretary Vilsack joined officials including Senator Alex Padilla (D-CA) and Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-CA) at the USFS Del Rosa Fire Station for a briefing by state and federal fire officials. USFS Chief Randy Moore, USFS Regional Forester Jennifer Eberlien, California Natural Resources Agency Secretary Wade Crowfoot and CAL FIRE Acting Director Michael Richwine provided an overview of this year’s fire outlook, current drought impacts and the extreme weather conditions that are driving catastrophic wildfires in the Western U.S.
The Vice President announced at Del Rosa Fire station that the new bipartisan infrastructure law will invest in wildfire prevention by creating a 10-year, $50 billion national strategy, with roughly $84 million coming to California over the next five years. Nearly 25 percent of the contiguous U.S. is classified as being at moderate to high risk for wildfires, and about half of those areas are in the west.
In addition, the Vice President announced more than $48 million in funding for Joint Chief’s Landscape Restoration Partnership projects – including four in California – that mitigate catastrophic wildfire risk and help create climate-resilient landscapes, protect water quality and enhance wildlife habitat.
“We know that these fires pose a significant risk for our communities, so bringing federal resources to bear, in conjunction with state and local officials, is critical,” Rep. Aguilar said. “This funding will help keep the Inland Empire safe while helping to combat climate change. I’m so proud to have the support of the Vice President and look forward to continuing to work with her on this and many other important issues.”
The Wildfire Prevention funding will be managed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Forest Service. It will allow them to initiate more controlled burns and create healthier forests that can store carbon and reduce the threat of these destructive and deadly wildfires.
The $1.2 billion bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will create hundreds of good-paying jobs in the Inland Empire by fixing roads, bridges, sewers and tunnels; strengthening the Port of LA; and making high-speed internet more accessible for working families.