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70 Special Districts, Cities & Counties Urge for Certainty for Retardant Use against Wildfire

June 2, 2023 | Cole Arreloa_Karr

A coalition of 70 local governments called on Congressional leadership to move legislation to ensure fire agencies’ ability to use fire retardants to combat wildfire.

Click here to read the House letter and here to read the Senate letter.  

The June 1 coalition letter sent to House, Senate, and Senate Environment and Public Works Committee leaderships urges Congress to pass the Forest Protection and Wildland Firefighter Safety Act, which would codify the exemption that federal, state, and local firefighting agencies leverage to apply fire retardant against wildfire without violating the Clean Water Act.

Senator Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo., sponsors S. 796, the Senate version of the bill and Congressman Doug LaMalfa sponsors the bipartisan House bill, H.R. 1586.

Meanwhile, A federal judge in Montana ruled on May 25 that the U.S. Forest Service’s aerial application of fire retardants to combat wildfire violates CWA and must seek a permit for continued use. As this process could take up to two years, the judge will allow federal fire agencies to continue use of retardants until a final decision is made on a permit. The U.S. Forest Service is required to update the court on its progress every six months. This decision applies in the Ninth Federal Circuit states of Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington. 

The National Special Districts Coalition coordinated the coalition letter sent from 55 special districts, 12 counties, and three cities. 

“The letter sends a clear message from a diverse group of local governments, from West to East, united by a common threat,” said Cole Arreola-Karr, NSDC Federal Advocacy Director. “While we are relieved the court will allow application of retardant while the U.S Forest Service seeks permit, we are eager for certainty that this public policy issue is one that must be favorably resolved for the public health, safety, vitality, and even existence, of wildland-urban interface communities.”

NSDC thanks its Member organizations, the National Association of Counties, and Streamline for extending this advocacy opportunity, and especially thanks the local governments signing onto the letter:


1.     Coconino County; Supervisor Patrice Horstman, Chair


2.     City of Lake Elsinore; Jason Simpson, City Manager

3.     City of Menifee; Mayor Bill Zimmerman

4.     City of San Jacinto; Robert Johnson, City Manager

5.     Durham Irrigation District; Matt Doyle, Board Chair

6.     Golden Hills Community Services District (Tehachapi); Susan Wells, General Manager

7.     Modoc County; Supervisor Ned Coe, 1st District

8.     Montecito Fire Protection District; David Neels, Fire Chief

9.     Placer County Water Agency; Anthony Firenzi, Director of Strategic Affairs

10.  Rancho Santa Fe Fire Protection District; Alicea Caccavo, Manager, Finance & Administration

11.  Riverside County; Supervisor Kevin Jeffries, Chair of the Board of Supervisors

12.  Stallion Springs Community Services District (Tehachapi); Vanessa Stevens, General Manager

13.  Tahoe City Public Utility District; Sean Barclay, General Manager

14.  Tulare County; Supervisor Dennis Townsend, Chairman of the Board

15.  Tuolumne Utilities District (Sonora); Don Perkins, General Manager


16.  Eagle River Fire Protection District (Edwards); Kari Bauer, Fire Chief

17.  Elizabeth Fire Protection District; TJ Steck, Fire Chief

18.  Elk Creek Fire Protection District (Conifer); Jacob N. Ware, Fire Chief

19.  Fraser Valley Metropolitan Recreation District; Scott Ledin, Executive Director

20.  Hot Sulphur Springs Fire Protection District; Toni Russell, Lieutenant

21.  Hyland Hills Park and Recreation District (Federal Heights); Yvonne Fischbach, Executive Director

22.  La Veta Fire Protection District; Ronald Jameson, Chief

23.  Lyons Fire Protection District; Paul Davidovich, President of the Board of Directors

24.  Summit Fire & EMS (Frisco); Travis Davis, Fire Chief

25.  Telluride Fire Protection District; John S. Bennett, District Chief


26.  Fort Myers Shores Fire Protection & Rescue Service District; Robert Rewis, Fire Chief

27.  Estero Fire and Rescue; Scott A. Vanderbrook, Fire Chief

28.  San Carlos Park Fire Protection & Rescue Service District; David Cambareri, Fire Chief/District Manager


29.  Lincoln County; Commissioner Rebecca Wood, Chairman of the Board

30.  Idaho County; Commissioner Skip Brant, Chairman of the Board

New Mexico

31.  Union County; Commissioner Clay Kiesling


32.  Ashland Fire & Rescue; Ralph E. Sartain II, Fire Chief

33.  Chiloquin Fire & Rescue; C. Michael Cook, Fire Chief

34.  Clackamas Fire District (Milwaukie); Nick Browne, Fire Chief

35.  Cove Rural Fire Protection District; Nathiel “Nate” Conrad, President

36.  Estacada Fire District; Ian O’Connor, Fire Chief

37.  Glide Rural Fire Protection District; Ted Damewood, Fire Chief

38.  Grant County; County Commissioner Jim Hamsher

39.  Hauser Rural Fire Protection District (North Bend); Jerry Wharton, Fire Chief

40.  Illinois Valley Fire District (Cave Junction); John J. Holmes; Fire Chief, Chief Executive Officer

41.  Jackson County Fire District 3 (White City); Mike Hussey, Fire Chief

42.  Junction City Rural Fire Protection District; Brandon Nicol, Fire Chief

43.  Keizer Fire District; Ryan Russell, Fire Chief

44.  Klamath Irrigation District; Gene Souza, Executive Director

45.  Lake Chinook Fire & Rescue (Culver); Don Colfels, Fire Chief

46.  Lebanon Aquatic District; Loree Engler, Executive Director

47.  Lebanon Rural Fire Protection District; Joseph Rodondi, Fire Chief

48.  Marion County Fire District #1; Kyle McMann, Fire Chief

49.  McKenzie Fire/Rescue (Leaburg); Darren Bucich, Fire Chief

50.  Medford Fire Department; Eric Thompson, Fire Chief

51.  Nestucca Rural Fire Protection District (Cloverdale); James Oeder, Fire Chief

52.  Northern Wasco County People’s Utility District; Cyndi Gentry, Director of Corporate Services

53.  Ontario Rural Fire Protection District; Clint Benson, Fire Chief

54.  Port of The Dalles; Greg Weast, Commission President

55.  Rogue River Rural Fire Protection District (Gold Hill); Mike Hammond, Fire Chief

56.  Scappoose Fire District; Jeff Pricher, Fire Chief

57.  Sisters-Camp Sherman Rural Fire Protection District; Roger Johnson, Fire Chief 

58.  South Lane County Fire & Rescue (Cottage Grove); John Wooten, Fire Chief

59.  Sunriver Fire Department; Rodney Bjorvik, Interim Fire Chief

60.  Tenmile Rural Fire District; Travis W. Henderson, Fire Chief

61.  Tygh Valley Water District; Dan Jaffe, Board Chair

62.  Umatilla County Fire District 1; Scott Stanton, Fire Chief

63.  Umatilla County Special Library District; Heather Estrada, District Director

64.  Vernonia Rural Fire Protection District; Robert Davis, Fire Chief

65.  Wasco County; County Commissioner Scott Hege

66.  Williams Rural fire Protection District; Bill Ertel, Board of Directors


67.  Travis County Emergency Services District No. 5; Chris Barron, Chief


68.  Beaver County; Commissioner Wade Hollingshead, Chairman


69.  Yakima County; County Commissioner Amanda McKinney


70.  Park County Fire Protection District #2; Jerry Parker, Administrator/Fire Warden


Contact Cole Arreola-Karr, NSDC Federal Advocacy Director, for more information.

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