Senators passed a bill May 29 that establishes new procedures for fighting and preventing wildfires.
LB634, introduced by Hyannis Sen. Al Davis, directs the Nebraska Forest Service to:
• contract with private aviation companies to place two single engine air tankers at airports near Chadron and Valentine during fire season;
• thin forests to reduce fuel loads, substantially reducing risk to residents, communities and emergency personnel;
• provide expanded training programs for volunteer firefighters, private landowners and communities in order to increase fire suppression effectiveness and safety;
• develop a Nebraska-based Type 3 incident management team that would serve as a comprehensive resource to augment and help manage large wildfire operations;
• expand the federal excess property programs managed by the Nebraska Forest Service to provide volunteer fire districts with fire suppression equipment; and
• rehabilitate forest lands that have been destroyed by wildfires.
The Nebraska Emergency Management Agency will be responsible for carrying out the bill’s provisions.
The bill passed on a 45-0 vote.