DelBene, Cantwell, Schrier Call for ‘Immediate Support’ from U.S. Forest Service to Help Prevent Landslides, Floods in Bolt Creek Fire Area
Today, Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (WA-01), Washington Senator Maria Cantwell, and Congresswoman Kim Schrier (WA-08) sent a letter to U.S. Forest Service (USFS) Chief Randy Moore, calling for the agency to begin post-burn treatment in the Bolt Creek Fire area.
In the letter, the lawmakers noted that the Bolt Creek Fire burned over 14,000 acres along U.S. Highway 2, a key connector in Washington state that carries 3.6 million tons of freight each year and is traveled by over 22,000 vehicles daily. A USFS post-burn analysis found that a significant amount of watershed areas have burned and that 47 percent of acres burned have a high risk of erosion.
“These factors are likely to result in multiple high risk hazards throughout the US-2 corridor, including high magnitude of consequence events such as runoff, road washout, debris flows, tree and rock falls, snags, and decreased hydrologic function that can all have consequences to our communities, culture, and economy in the Pacific Northwest,” the lawmakers wrote to Chief Moore.
“Winter weather is fast approaching, likely resulting in increased precipitation and other weather events that can induce geo-hazards under these conditions. We request the immediate treatment of these USFS lands under the Burned Area Rehabilitation Program. Early action is critical to preventing harm to local communities, Washington state, and commerce throughout the Pacific Northwest and the nation.”
Yesterday, DelBene, Cantwell, and Schrier held a rountable discussion in Sultan, WA, with local leaders, transportation experts, firefighters, and business owners. Since the first fire closure on September 10, 2022, when the Bolt Creek wildfire started, U.S. Highway 2 has closed seven different times. Local leaders and business owners fear even more closures if the post-fire landscape isn’t treated.
You can read the full letter here.