Ducey calls special session to address wildfires, aftermath

Gov. Doug Ducey, right, chats with Rep. David Cook after touring fire damaged areas in the legislator’s district. /Capitol Media Services photo by Howard Fischer

By Howard Fischer | Capitol Media Services

Saying the current fires are just the beginning of problems, Gov. Doug Ducey on Thursday called for a special legislative session to begin this coming week.

“It’s clear that we still have a lot more to do,” the governor said after taking a helicopter tour over the fires — and charred remains — of the Telegraph and Mescal fires.

“The response won’t end when the fires are put out,” he continued. “When this year’s monsoon rains come, these burned areas are prone to landslides, mudslides and flooding, which pose another threat to our communities.”

While the legislature already is in session, Ducey said having a concurrent session should pave the way for quick approval of the funds needed “to contain these wildfires, possible flooding, and any other natural disasters that arise from this emergency.”

The governor also is hoping the session provides an opportunity for lawmakers, who have been at odds with each other over the budget proposal, to come together in a bipartisan fashion, at least on this issue.Ducey credited House Speaker Rusty Bowers, R-Mesa, with the idea of the special session. Aside from his role at the Capitol, Bowers has personal experience with the current emergency, having lost a family cabin in Gila County to the fire.

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June 2021