House Unanimously Passes Cárdenas Amendment to Study Drones in Wildfire Response
WASHINGTON, DC – In response to the devastating wildfires that have raged across California over the course of the past year, Congressman Tony Cárdenas (D-CA) introduced an amendment to promote wildfire management innovation. The amendment allows the federal government to explore the use of drones in fire response and forest management and was adopted unanimously and passed the House today.
“Wildfires continue to grow in intensity and frequency, and we want to ensure that we are using all available tools to prevent and contain them,” said Rep. Cárdenas. “While I have concerns about the underlying bill, progress is being made by adopting amendments like mine that promote much needed innovation in wildfire management. This amendment explores the use of drones to fight wildfires and manage forests. It will help add another tool to the toolkit in protecting American lives, homes, property, businesses, wildlife and forests from devastating wildfires.”
In October alone, wildfires in California killed 42 people, burned over 240,000 acres and destroyed an estimated 8,900 structures. When these fires are finally put out, they leave in their wake thick smoke, toxic ash and debris that pose long lasting risks to our health and environment. Rep. Cárdenas’s amendment requires the Secretary of Agriculture to conduct a study evaluating the feasibility, safety and cost effectiveness of using unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, for the purposes of wildfire response and forest management. The amendment was unanimously adopted into H.R. 2936, the Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2017.