The entire roster of California GOP lawmakers called on the Biden administration to act immediately and address the aviation fuel shortage to prevent wildfire disasters.
As the nation gets deeper into wildfire season, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., led the California Republican delegation in a letter to Interior Secretary Deb Haaland and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, calling on them to address a “potential fuel shortage” for airplanes tasked with fighting fires.
Issa blasted the Biden administration in a release, blaming “administrative failures” for firefighters potentially facing down blazes without enough fuel.
“We know the devastating loss of life, land and property that wildfires can inflict in the West almost without warning,” Issa wrote. “That’s why it is inexplicable that because of administrative failures, our firefighters could face the peak of fire season without the aviation fuel supplies to support first responders and line personnel on the ground.”
“The Biden administration must act now, not wait until our communities are burning,” he continued. “We are calling for leadership and cooperation to prevent the kind of disaster we have seen before.”
The lawmakers point out in the letter that the wildfire season this year is projected to likely be “a severe season” and that “key officials are reporting that they are facing the real possibility of severe jet fuel shortages.”
“This would mean they would have to wave off and decline the service of specialized planes and helicopters that drop fire retardants – endangering millions of Americans across a substantial number of communities,” the letter reads.
Calling the risk to the community “unacceptable,” the lawmakers said the lack of preparation “represents a dangerous and vulnerable posture that is potentially catastrophic” and that the risk required “immediate attention,” pointing out fire officials’ warnings included in an Associated Press article early this month about fuel shortages.
“This is especially relevant because the Biden administration has pledged to dramatically reduce the production and use of fossil fuels,” the lawmakers wrote.
“While we recognize the potential benefit of renewable fuels as part of our future, the fact remains: For the foreseeable future, heavy equipment, personnel transports, aircraft, pumps, generators, saws and other tools that help firefighters do their jobs all require fossil fuels,” they continued.
The group wrote that the Biden administration “is not doing its job” to ensure those fighting fires on the front lines are “properly equipped for their essential, life-saving work” if they don’t have enough fuel to fight the fires and asked for the administration to answer questions pertaining to how they’ll fight the upcoming blazes.
“That fire is a threat in the West is not new, and it is not a surprise,” they wrote. “The only surprise is that our reactions and preparedness continue to fall short.”
A White House official told Fox News on Tuesday that the federal government is coordinating with front-line officials to offer assistance as it’s needed, such as ensuring the necessary fuel is available for aerial extinguishing.
The official also said the federal government is watching the wildfires, adding that they are being aggravated by drought, winds and heat.