Major Firefighting Programs Renewed by Congress
The conference report to H.R. 4310, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013, would reauthorize the FIRE and SAFER grant programs and the U.S. Fire Administration through FY 2017.
The International Association of Fire Chiefs reported Dec. 21 that both houses of Congress have passed a bill to improve programs that support the nation's fire and emergency services. It is included in the conference report to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 (H.R. 4310).
IAFC reports H.R. 4310 would:
- Reauthorize the FIRE and SAFER grant programs through FY 2017
- Reauthorize the U.S. Fire Administration through FY 2017
- Make reforms to the Public Safety Officers Benefits program
- Authorize the transfer of up to seven excess aircraft from the U.S. Department of Defense to the U.S. Department of Agriculture for wildland firefighting operations
President Obama is expected to sign it into law. "This is a great day for the fire and emergency services," said Chief Hank Clemmensen, IAFC's president and chairman of the board. "This legislation reassures congressional support for the USFA and FIRE and SAFER grant programs. It also makes important reforms to the FIRE and SAFER grant programs and the Public Safety Officers' Benefits program. Finally, the bill begins the process of increasing the U.S. Forest Service's aviation capabilities for wildland fire suppression operations. I would like to thank our supporters on Capitol Hill and the leadership of the other fire service organizations for working together to achieve these major accomplishments."