Merkley introduces 2 bills aimed at combating wildfires, smoke


Senator Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., is introducing two bills to combat the ever growing threat of smoke and wildfires

The “Smoke and Heat Ready Communities Act” would provide federal grants to protect communities from smoke and extreme heat. 

The act would fund four centers of excellence across the western United States. Those centers would help communities improve infrastructure and programs to lessen the impact of smoke.

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Merkley says one of those centers will be at the University of Oregon.

“It’s going to be rare that any of our major cities don’t have several smoke events over the course of the summer. So this is just becoming part of the changing climate chaos world we live in, and we need to develop the ability to respond to it much more effectively,” Merkley said.

Merkley is also introducing the “Wildfire Smoke Emergency Declaration Act,” which would give the power to declare an emergency to the president when facing prolonged periods of smoke. 

Over the last few years, the number of days with unhealthy air have increased dramatically. Sen. Merkley hopes these bills will help reduce the impact caused by wildfires. 



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