Letters From the West

Interior Secretary Jewell meets with Idaho leaders Monday in Boise

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell in Boise in 2013.

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell in Boise in 2013.

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell will visit the National Interagency Fire Center Monday for a briefing on the 2014 wildfire season.

Jewell, will meet with Democratic Oregon Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, Idaho Republican Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch,  and  Idaho Republican Reps. Mike Simpson and Raul Labrador. Idaho Gov. Butch Otter also will attend.

They will discuss the bipartisan Wildfire Disaster Funding Act they all support, which was introduced in the Senate and House and included in the President’s Budget. The bill would fund major wildfires the same way as other natural disasters, while freeing up funding for thinning, logging and prescribed fires to reduce the ferocity of  future fires.

This would be Jewell’s second visit to the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise.

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Rocky Barker is the energy and environment reporter for the Idaho Statesman and has been writing about the West since 1985. He is the author of Scorched Earth How the Fires of Yellowstone Changed America and co-producer of the movie Firestorm: Last Stand at Yellowstone, which was inspired by the book and broadcast on A&E Network. He also co-authored the Flyfisher's Guide to Idaho and the Wingshooter's Guide to Idaho with Ken Retallic. He also was on the Statesman’s team that covered the Sen. Larry Craig sex scandal, which was one of three Pulitzer Prize finalists in breaking news in 2007. The National Wildlife Federation awarded him its Conservation Achievement Award.

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