Senator Daines Mourns The Deaths Of Two Firefighters – Calls For Wildland Policy Reforms
In a U.S. Senate Committee hearing on Thursday morning, Montana Senator Steve Daines mourned the deaths of two wildland firefighters in the Missoula area in the last two weeks.
"Trenton Johnson, a courageous 19 year-old from Missoula who was a sophomore at Montana State University in Bozeman, my alma mater, who died two weeks ago while fighting a wildfire," Daines said. "Just yesterday afternoon we received word of another loss of life on the Lolo Peak Fire. Both men died after trees fell on them."
Daines called for improving protections for firefighters.
"We do need to address how we fund and prepare communities for wildfire, and we also need to recognize wildland firefighters for what they do, and give injured firefighters flexibility in their retirement compensation," he said. "Ranking committee member Cantwell and I and sponsored legislation that would do just that."
Daines also discussed the widespread fires currently occurring throughout Montana, and voiced frustration with litigation that has blocked the Stonewall Vegetation project. This Project was designed to reduce hazardous fuels in the very areas currently burning near Lincoln.
Daines questioned Ms. Victoria Christiansen, the Deputy Chief of State and Private Forestry at the Forest Service, on the Cottonwood decision that resulted in the Stonewall injunction.