06 December 2011

published by http://www.fireengineering.com     

USA — The following information was released by the Tennessee Democratic Party:

Despite wildfires in Tennessee that have already burned more than 9,000 acres this year and a 2010 fire that burned nearly 1,000 acres in his own district, Congressman Scott DesJarlais (TN-04) wants to eliminate the Smokey Bear campaign, which could force the government to spend more money fighting fires as the number of human-caused forest fires increase.

“It takes a special kind of politician to attack Smokey Bear,” said Adam Hodge of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “Instead of asking billionaires to pay a little bit more or oil companies to give up their subsidies, Congressman DesJarlais wants to eliminate a program that helps reduce the number of forest fires in Tennessee. There are better ways to reduce the deficit than by following Congressman DesJarlais’ extreme ideology and attacking Smokey Bear.”


DesJarlais’ Proposal to Eliminate Smokey the Bear Could Actually Increase Federal Spending to Fight Fires. “Representative Scott DesJarlais wants to eliminate funding for the U.S. Forest Service (USFS)’s conservation education program, a leader in Smokey Bear’s iconic, decades-long campaign to prevent wildfires [“] The proposal would likely increase spending to combat wildfires and would hurt communities that rely on the public’s understanding of the value of forest products and ecosystem services [“] In 2010, 36,108 human-caused wildfires burned in the southern region of the United States, an area represented in part by Rep. DesJarlais. Seeing as firefighting costs the government about $700 per acre, federal spending would be higher without Smokey Bear’s powerful message.” [Forest Foundation, 12/2/11 ]

Fire Season Often Brings Devastating Effects to East Tennessee. “November may only be just over a week old, but already the area has been plagued by two small brush fires, warning shots in what Division of Forestry officials hope won’t become a constant salve this fall fire season. That has Forestry officials making a concerted effort to warn local residents about the potential dangers of the stretch from Oct. 15 to Dec. 15 that often brings devastating conflagrations to East Tennessee [“] [The] chemistry of risk factors sent Forestry employees scrambling to more than 1,300 blazes that claimed nearly 16,500 acres last year.” [Mountain Press, 11/9/2011 ]

DesJarlais Voted Against a Bipartisan Fully Offset Amendment to Restore Funding to Firefighters. “Under H.R. 1 House legislation to continue funding the federal government – the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant program would have been completely eliminated, and the Assistance to Firefighters (FIRE Act) grants would have been cut by more than 20 percent. Recognizing the threat to fire fighter safety, Representative Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) offered an amendment to restore funding for the two programs. The amendment passed February 16 with a large bipartisan majority.” [International Association of Fire Fighters Press Release, 2/16/11 ; Pascrell of New Jersey Amendment #223 to H.R. 1, Vote #60 , 2/16/11]

Fires Hit Campbell County Last Year. “Two wildfires in Campbell County consumed 700 acres, half of the reported acreage burned Tuesday across East Tennessee. Eighteen fires burning 1,400 acres were reported as weather conditions continue to be dry with high winds elevating the danger.” [Knoxville News, 4/7/10 ]

Over 825 Wildfires Have Been Recorded Since January in Tennessee. “Since January, state Forestry Division officials have recorded 825 wildfires in Tennessee that burned more than 9,000 acres of forestland.” According to the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, the Department utilized Smokey Bear to help their fire prevention program. [State of Tennessee Press Release, 9/2/11 ; Tennessee Department of Agriculture, accessed 12/5/11 ]

DesJarlais Said Millionaires and Billionaires Already Pay the Lion’s Share of Taxes. In September 2011, DesJarlais said that the millionaires and billionaires already pay enough taxes. “Shouldering the burden on the job creators – the people he refers to as millionaires and billionaires – they’re already paying the lion’s share of taxes, and taxing them more is going to hurt jobs, not help create them.” [WBIR, 9/8/11 ]

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