State Dem lawmakers sound off on addressing climate change

 House Minority Leader Reginald Bolding says Friday that Arizona needs to finally deal with the realities of climate change and how that affects wildfires and not just rely on measures like the one signed by Gov. Doug Ducey to put $100 million into dealing with the current blazes. /Capitol Media Services

By Howard Fischer /Capitol Media Services 

Gov. Doug Ducey signed a $100 million plan to fight current fires, but not before hearing from Democratic leaders about what’s not in the legislation: preventing future blazes by dealing with climate change.

At a signing ceremony Friday, the governor pointed out that Arizona lost more than 900,000 acres to fires last year. And data from the Department of Forestry and Fire Management suggests the state is on track to beat that this year.

Senate Minority Leader Rebecca Rios, D-Phoenix, said she and the Democrats who voted for the plan appreciate the fast action. Approval comes even as firefighters are still battling a number of active blazes.

That includes the Telegraph Fire near Globe, which as of Friday morning had consumed 176,122 acres and 51 structures and was just 72% contained. And while the nearby Mescal Fire at 72,250 acres is listed as fully contained, the Pinnacle Fire southeast of those is just 10% contained.

There also are a series of smaller active blazes.

But Rios, at the signing ceremony, said there are other realities that need to be addressed.


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June 2021