Bustos Votes to Pass Wildfire Response and Drought Resiliency Act

WASHINGTON — Today, Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (IL-17) voted to pass the Wildfire Response and Drought Resiliency Act – legislation to invest in wildfire prevention, response and resiliency efforts for communities impacted by drought. The bill also includes a provision supported by Congresswoman Bustos to increase pay for federal structural firefighters – including those at the Rock Island Arsenal. 

“As extreme weather events become increasingly common, we continue to see the heartbreaking impacts of wildfires on American families,” said Congresswoman Bustos. “I was proud to help pass comprehensive legislation to help us prevent these catastrophes and make communities more resilient. I’m particularly glad that this legislation will increase pay for federal firefighters – like the structural firefighters stationed at the Rock Island Arsenal.” 

Wildfires are now a year-round threat, burning larger areas with greater intensity, and wildfire activity is only projected to increase as drought and climate change reduce soil moisture and convert living forests into dry fuel. Climate change has also made drought more severe and persistent, with parts of the western United States experiencing their driest conditions in over 1,200 years. Together, the effects of drought and wildfire cost the United States over $20 billion in 2021 alone.