Schumer wants more Forest Service personnel deployed to help Canada fight fires

Posted 8 June 2023 at 5:50 pm

Press Release, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer

As much of Upstate New York continues to be been overtaken by a thick haze of wildfire smoke bellowing across the Canadian border and putting the health of families and communities at risk, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer today urged Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to call on the U.S. Forest Services to immediately double the personnel deployed to Canada to fight these forest fires, stop the fire, and ultimately end the spread of hazardous air flowing from these wildfires into New York State.

Schumer called on Secretary Vilsack to get any and all available help needed by the Canadian government to contain the fire and return the air quality back to a normal, healthy level. Schumer said these unprecedented wildfires are a crisis for both Canada and the United States, making it imperative that both nations respond speedily and forcefully to contain the blazes.

“It is unfathomable that millions of New Yorkers cannot even step outside without compromising their health and safety. From Buffalo to Binghamton, upstate residents have had to make impossible decisions between their safety and their livelihood; everything from afterschool activities to festivals, to sporting events and flights have been cancelled,” said Senator Schumer. “The best way to ensure that Upstate NY does not suffer another wave of wildfire air pollution from these fires is to contain them as soon as possible. That will not be easy, but the Federal Government must explore all options on the table to keep residents in New York and across the U.S. safe.

“We must send personnel, equipment, and we must offer any assistance that our friends north of the border need. Climate change has taken these once-in-a-hundred-years events and turned them into yearly occurrences, and while I am proud of the work we’ve done to accelerate the transition to clean energy through bills like the Inflation Reduction Act, this wildfire is a stark reminder that without further intervention, our country will continue to fight these unprecedented events. In the meantime, we need all hands on deck to immediately make New York’s air clean, healthy, and safe once again.”