Sinema hosted Forest Service Chief in Arizona to hear directly from local communities on burn scar, 4FRI cancellation
Forest Service, Agriculture Department participated at today’s roundtable discussion in which $6.5 million in federal funding was announced
FLAGSTAFF – Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema hosted the U.S. Forest Service Chief in Arizona to hear directly from local northern Arizona communities on the Museum Fire Burn Scar and the recent cancellation of the second phase of the Four Forest Restoration Initiative (4FRI).
At Sinema’s request, Forest Service Chief Moore toured the burn scar with local officials, and participated in a subsequent roundtable with Sinema, Congressman Tom O’Halleran (AZ-01), and local northern Arizona leaders and stakeholders. Moore announced at the event that, following Sinema’s work, Arizona will receive $6.5 million in federal funding: $3.5 million to remediate the burn scar—including rehabilitation of national forest land and watersheds—and $3 million for flood mitigation at the Mt. Elden Estates.
The roundtable discussion also focused on the positive impacts Sinema’s bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act for forest management, and wildfire prevention and recovery. The historic legislation was approved by the U.S. House last week and is awaiting the president’s signature into law.
“I appreciate Chief Moore coming to Arizona and listening to the concerns of local communities. We’re thrilled that millions of dollars in federal funding is on its way to rehabilitate the burn scar—and we’re happy for the opportunity to share concerns about the 4FRI cancellation. We’ve seen the devastating effects of unmanaged forests on Arizonans’ lives and livelihoods. That’s why I’m proud our bipartisan infrastructure bill makes critical investments to prevent wildfires and floods in Arizona communities and businesses, and I’m calling on the Forest Service to partner with us in continuing to take action on forest management funding,” said Sinema.
The U.S. Forest Service shared its updated plan to treat and restore acres targeted by 4FRI over the next 10 years. However, Sinema shared her concerns about how industry will be incentivized in Arizona to process the thinned material, resolving liability risk, and ensuring that funding from her bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is utilized efficiently and effectively.
4FRI is the first and only landscape-scale initiative designed to restore fire-adapted ecosystems important to tribal communities and cities located around the Kaibab, Coconino, Apache-Sitgreaves, and Tonto National Forests. This initiative is critical to restoring the health of the forests and mitigating the major fires that have impacted Arizona communities and businesses.
Sinema’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act invests $8.25 billion for forest management and wildfire resilience, with hundreds of millions to fund projects like 4FRI, large-scale restoration projects, backstop sawmill infrastructure, build temporary roads, and reduce the risk of project cancellation.