Noem Votes to Send Thune Legislation Addressing Prescribed Burn Concerns to President
Washington, D.C. – Rep. Kristi Noem today helped the House pass S.3395, the Prescribed Burn Approval Act, sending it to President Obama for his signature. First introduced by Sen. John Thune and subsequently passed by the Senate, S.3395 would prohibit the U.S. Forest Service from authorizing prescribed burns in an area labeled as an extreme fire danger, except under certain circumstances with local coordination. The legislation is in response to the April 2015 Pautre Fire, which scorched more than 10,000 acres in western South Dakota.
“The extremely careless mishandling of the Pautre fire resulted in more than 10,000 acres of privately and publicly held land being unintentionally consumed by wildfire. Families were devastated. Multiple firefighting units and personnel were put in harm’s way. This burn should not have occurred that day without the collaboration and additional precautions such a burn requires,” said Noem. “The Prescribed Burn Approval Act is a step in the right direction, helping ensure necessary precautions are taken while also adding additional transparency and accountability measures for the Forest Service to adhere to. I thank Senator Thune for his work on the bill and encourage President Obama to promptly sign this legislation.”