State rep testifies for forest firefighter expansion

State Representative Bill Buckbee (R-67th) has testified before the Public Safety Committee regarding a bill adding a layer of greater public safety and preserving our environment.

Ultimately, the new law will allow the mobilization of qualified forest firefighters within Connecticut to fight forest fires in the most effective way possible.

Prior to speaking in favor of the bill, Buckbee assembled wildfire experts from across the state to show the committee that the intent of the bill is about getting all of the trained firefighters in the state working together.

“Currently, in the event of a forest fire within our state, some firefighters may not legally be allowed to help fight the flames,” Buckbee said.

“The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) administers training for forest firefighters and state statute requires that those fighting forest fires be employed by DEEP,” he said. “If this law were to pass, then qualified forest firefighters, regardless of employer, would be able to help fight in the event of an emergency.”

The National Forest Service is able to request Connecticut to assemble a team of these qualified firefighters to assist with fires in other states.

Having a sufficiently trained team of mobilized forest firefighters would provide our state protection from the potential outbreak of a devastating forest fire.

“We will help preserve our precious greenspace and support conservation efforts with better resources to respond to a fire,” Buckbee said. “This law will also end up saving lives.”

The Public Safety Committee consider the bill over the coming days.

The next action would be to move it to the House of Representatives.