Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Strengthens Alaska’s Wildfire Resilience
U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan (both R-AK) today announced the Department of the Interior (DOI) is investing over $3.3 million in funding from the bipartisan infrastructure law, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, to bolster wildfire resilience on nearly 8,000 acres of land across Alaska.
These wildland fire management investments will increase fuels treatments in “high wildfire hazard potential” areas, which will help protect homes, businesses, and other critical infrastructure.
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act contained significant funding to reduce catastrophic wildfires on federal lands through mechanical thinning, controlled burns, fuel breaks and other activities. The infrastructure law also featured funding to improve workforce training for firefighting and vegetation management, which specifically includes Alaska Native village fire crews.
“Every year, Alaska’s wildfire season impacts communities and regions across our state—with more than three million acres burned this season, alone. I recognize the devastation that causes, so as we developed the bipartisan infrastructure bill, I prioritized greater funding and new tools to accelerate thinning and fuel break work,” Senator Murkowski said. “I’m pleased to now see that benefitting Alaska through investments that will protect our lands and communities by reducing fire risks, ensuring we are better equipped to fight fires that do occur, and helping to restore affected ecosystems.”
“Wildfires burn millions of acres in Alaska every year—sometimes as much or more than the combined acreage burned in the rest of the country. Our state clearly has a disproportionate need for the tools and federal resources that protect lives, homes and critical infrastructure from these natural disasters,” said Senator Sullivan. “I’m glad to see these significant federal funds coming to our state that Senator Murkowski, Congressman Young and I were able to secure in the bipartisan infrastructure bill. These federal resources will help our brave firefighters prepare for upcoming wildfire seasons, prevent out-of-control burns, and ultimately keep Alaskans safe.”
Background: The bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act was signed into law on November 15, 2021. The law provides historic investments into roads, bridges, ports, airports, broadband, ferries, water and wastewater, resilience, and energy projects—modernizing and upgrading the nation’s core infrastructure. Senator Murkowski was a lead author and negotiator of the bipartisan infrastructure package, which also garnered support from Senator Sullivan and the late Congressman Don Young.