The state legislature is poised to cut $3.2 million from the wildfire relief funds allocated to the state’s firefighters and other emergency personnel, leaving more than $100 million in the pot, according to a bill introduced Wednesday.
The measure by state Rep. John Wieseman, R-Wash., would bar any state funding from going to the Oregon Emergency Management Agency, a disaster relief fund created in 2015 to aid state agencies in dealing with wildfires and other natural disasters.
The state has already allocated nearly $15.8 million for the wildfire-related programs, including $1.1 million in emergency personnel salaries, $3 million in wildfire suppression equipment and $1 million for training and other equipment, according a summary of the legislation.
The bill would also remove any funds from the state Emergency Management Authority for the State Fire Marshal and Emergency Operations Center.
The funds have been earmarked to aid fire fighters in fighting wildfires, with the goal of preventing a future catastrophic event.
The proposal has been delayed several times over the last few months, but was put on hold until last week after lawmakers in the state Senate rejected an attempt to strip the money from the fund.
The Oregon Firefighters Association, which is representing state firefighters, welcomed the proposal.
A spokeswoman for Wiesman’s office said he expects the bill to pass both the House and Senate in the coming days.”
Instead, they are going to use emergency funds to help the people of Oregon that need it the most.”
A spokeswoman for Wiesman’s office said he expects the bill to pass both the House and Senate in the coming days.