Senator Jeff Merkley is pushing for the Fiscal Year 2022 Defense Appropriations Bill

National Guard support has been provided to help in firefighting efforts in 2021. Sen.Jeff Merkley wants to ensure that funding for the National Guard continues in years to come.

Posted: Jul 14, 2021 6:10 PM
Updated: Jul 14, 2021 6:12 PM

MEDFORD, Ore. -- A lack of resources on the west during wildfire season has been apparent as several fires have blown through Western states impacting the lives of many locals.

Earlier this month, senators proposed the Fiscal Year 2022 Defense Appropriations bill that urges the Subcommittee of Defense to provide robust funding for the National Guard to support firefighting efforts in communities across the nation, particularly in the West, affected by wildfires.

Ruby Reid is the owner of Valhalla Organics and moved to Klamath Falls after losing her home in Talent last year during the Almeda fire.

Newswatch 12 spoke to Reid for the first time when she also lost part of her business in the recent Cutoff fire.

“On a personal level, I think I'm much less attached to any of my personal belongings now, having lost them several times. The most important thing is that we got out with our lives and with our cats and that we're going to be able to restart.”

She added that she hopes other people are ready to evacuate during fire season.

“We are always prepared to leave at a moment's notice. We have packed up several go bags, we always have gas in the car, we have maps and a plan.”

Senator Jeff Merkley is one of fourteen U.S. senators who has signed the proposed Fiscal Year 2022 Defense Appropriations bill.

“We've been able to fund them year after year, we're going to fund them again in the year to come and we just really had a problem last year in some cases where we had the National Guard teams but we didn't have the squad bosses who have to have extensive training because there were so many fires all at once, all across the country.”

As the country adapts to longer and more severe fire seasons, senators are also asking they receive proper training.

“The National Guard follows the protocols laid out by the forest service. They have to understand the communications, they have to understand the routines for safety, they have to understand hierarchy, which they’re very familiar with in a military sense.”

Newswatch 12 will continue to provide you with information as developments are made toward the Defense Appropriations bill for the fiscal 2022 year.

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