Pentagon asked to renew wildfire monitoring program California firefighters now rely on

California
A home is engulfed in flames as the Dixie fire rages on in Greenville, California on August 5, 2021. (JOSH EDELSON/AFP via Getty Images)

A home is engulfed in flames as the Dixie fire rages on in Greenville, California on August 5, 2021. (JOSH EDELSON/AFP via Getty Images)Greenville, an Indian Valley settlement of a few hundred people dating back to the mid-1800s Gold Rush, was engulfed by flames as winds whipped the inferno towards the community, turning the sky orange. (Photo by JOSH EDELSON / AFP) (Photo by JOSH EDELSON/AFP via Getty Images)

Seven weeks before an important wildfire monitoring program is slated to lose access to Pentagon satellite data, 31 Democrats from California on Monday demanded the Defense Department commit to continuing the access that firefighters have come to rely on.

Since 2019, the Pentagon has been providing data from its classified infrared satellites to help firefighters in California and around the country spot and track wildfires. But that access is scheduled to end Sept. 30, and there is no assurance it will be extended.

“Its ending brings new dangers to firefighters on the front lines,” the lawmakers, led by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Burbank), and including Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Alex Padilla, wrote to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Monday. “We believe that the Department must extend this program.”

The Los Angeles Times reported last month that Fireguard faced losing access to the military’s material and that the Pentagon was hesitant to permanently renew it. Heeding the praise from fire officials for the program, lawmakers have become more vocal in their concerns in recent weeks.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Most Popular

Latest News

More News