Sen. Romney calls on federal government to update country’s response to wildfires

Jun 18, 2021, 8:16 PM
romney wildfires...
(Sen. Mitt Romney, at podium, speaking at a press conference in Draper describing his proposed fire commission. Photo: Paul Nelson)
(Sen. Mitt Romney, at podium, speaking at a press conference in Draper describing his proposed fire commission. Photo: Paul Nelson)

DRAPER – Utah Senator Mitt Romney says the federal government is not taking a close enough look at the growing problem of wildfires across the western states. He’s calling for a new commission dedicated to finding the best ways to keep smaller fires from becoming major catastrophes.

Romney describes the federal government’s approach to wildfires as a “patchwork of legislation,” partly due to so many different agencies owning and watching over different plots of land.

“One time it might be [Department of] Interior, another time it’s the forestry department, and other times, it’s state land or private land.  Each has different rules and regulations,” he says.

He’s calling for a thorough review of the country’s wildland firefighting strategy, and to do that, a commission of experts needs to be established to study the issue.  Romney says the commission will have a mix of federal representatives along with local experts who know a lot about fire prevention.

Romney says, “We have got to put together a comprehensive strategy and knock down the regulations that are keeping us from actually doing a better job.”

As the temperatures get hotter, Romney says the western states continue to get drier, making wildfires larger.  He says there have already been nearly 400 fires in Utah this year, burning roughly 40 thousand acres, and the overwhelming majority of them were human-caused.

“We saw some of the tragedies in California over the last couple of years. So, whether you’re Republican or Democrat, you know this is an issue we’ve got to tackle.”

Romney also says the commission needs to review the country’s firefighting aircraft and find the best locations for them to be strategically placed so they can knock down flames at a moment’s notice. Plus, they need to decide what to do with dead lumber that Romney says is just laying around, ready to burn.

“That has to happen.  It hasn’t happened in the past and, as a result of that, we’re more vulnerable today,” he says.

Romney hopes to attach this bill with the infrastructure bill being negotiated in Washington D.C.


Other Reading:

Sandy leaders, Gov. Cox encourage the state legislature to ban fireworks

Most fires and fireworks banned in Wasatch County

The Flatt Fire has caused evacuations and has burned an estimated 5000 acres

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories


Prosecutors are dismissing the case against a man accused of starting the Jacob City Fire in July....
Adam Small

Case of Jacob City Fire suspect dismissed

Prosecutors are dismissing the case against a man accused of starting the Jacob City Fire in July.
2 months ago
Unmanned drones that drop fireballs are one of the latest weapons against wildfires in the U.S....
Natalia V. Osipova and Catherine Thorbecke, CNN Business

These fireball-dropping wildfire drones are on the frontlines of prevention

The founder of Drone Amplified says the drones method works by burning dead leaves and sticks that could cause wildfire later in the summer.
2 months ago
Pile burning near Kamas for wildfire control....
Waverly Golden

Remember your fire sense, pile burning in Kamas City

If you're in the Kamas City area and see smoke, don't be alarmed. Fire crews ignited piles in the Left-hand Canyon in Kamas City.
3 months ago
Fire in Logan is out....
Waverly Golden

Grass fire in Logan burned about a quarter of an acre

Logan City Fire Department said in a Facebook post that a fire in the area of 700 North and 350 West, Logan, is now out.
4 months ago
wildfire in summit county, parleys fire from above...
Adam Small

Teams continue wildfire mitigation work in Parley’s Canyon

Officials said a catastrophic wildfire could send debris into, and cause other problems for, a watershed relied on by nearly 365,000 people.
4 months ago
Prescribed burning is being planned for the Manti La Sal National Forest. The burns will be held du...
Mark Jones

Prescribed burns are planned for the Manti-La Sal National Forest

Officials with the Manti La Sal National Forest say prescribed burns will be taking place during the fall/winter months when favorable burning conditions allow.
4 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...
Intermountain Health

Five Common Causes of Cervical Cancer – and What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer, the tests that can warn women about potential cancer, and the importance of vaccination.
Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy. This year the event will be held from January 27-29 at the Utah Bear Lake State Park Marina and Sunrise Resort and Event Center in Garden City, Utah. 
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...

15 Easy Christmas Dinner Ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy. Choose from the dishes we’ve highlighted to plan your meal or start brainstorming your own meal plan a couple of weeks before to make sure you have time to shop and prepare.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...

5 Game Day Snacks for the Whole Family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...

The Best Tools for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Workplace Success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
Sen. Romney calls on federal government to update country’s response to wildfires