Editorial: Fire factors

US President Joe Biden will promote his administration’s use of the Defence Production Act to aid in wildfire preparedness during a western swing in which he’ll survey wildfire damage in Idaho and California.

The administration activated the wartime provision in early August to boost the supply of fire hoses for the US Forest Service, by helping to ease supply chain issues affecting the agency’s primary firehose supplier. It marks the second use of the wartime law, after the president used it to boost vaccine supplies, and the administration had not previously announced it publicly.

The use of the Defense Production Act helped an Oklahoma City nonprofit called NewView Oklahoma, which provides the bulk of the U.S. Forest Service’s hoses, obtain needed supplies to produce and ship 415 miles of firehoses.

Biden planned to showcase the move as part of broader remarks on the work his administration has done to address yet another devastating wildfire season across the western US The President planned deliver remarks during a visit Monday to the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho, and then travel to Sacramento, California, where he’ll survey wildfire damage. He’ll wrap up the day in Long Beach for an election-eve event with California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom, who faces a recall vote on Tuesday.

Biden’s western visit is aimed primarily at drumming up support for his massive 3.5 trillion spending plan by linking it to beating back wildfires and upgrading social programmes. In the two-day trip, which includes a stop in Colorado on Tuesday, Biden is looking to connect the dots for Americans between the increasing frequency of wildfires in the West as well other extreme weather events around the country and the need to invest billions in combating the climate crisis as well as in a vast expansion of the social safety net.

His eleventh-hour pitch Monday in California comes the day before voters head to the polls to decide whether to recall Newsom and then replace him with Republican and talk-show host Larry Elder, who’s seen as the leading GOP alternative to Newsom, or any of the dozens of other candidates on the ballot.

 

NT Bureau