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Cantwell Applauds Emergency Declaration, Will Sponsor Air Tanker Legislation

Paige Browning
Spokane Public Radio

President Obama’s emergency declaration for Washington unlocks federal firefighting tools. U-S Senator Maria Cantwell applauded the declaration during a stop in Spokane Friday, but says the state still needs aerial resources.

Senator Cantwell has spent the week meeting people affected by fires in Okanogan and Stevens County.

Cantwell: “We obviously have a lot more to do to protect our communities.”

On her way through Washington, Cantwell stopped at Aero-Flight in Spokane, the country’s largest private operator of water scooping aircraft.

She says on top of Obama’s declaration, she and other lawmakers will introduce legislation next week to fund more air tankers.

Cantwell: “Especially given that 50 percent of requests for air tankers, that is we don’t have enough of them. So we want to make sure that if we need to obtain more, that we look in our next firefighting bill to do so.”

The federal Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a field meeting in Seattle next week on the topic.

Copyright 2015 Spokane Public Radio

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