PHOENIX — State Rep. David Cook, R-Globe, has been appointed by House Speaker Rusty Bowers to chair the newly created Ad Hoc Committee on Forest and Wildfire Management.
The committee is designed to research and make recommendations for potential changes to state and federal laws and regulations related to the management of wildfires in Arizona, according to a press release. Consideration will be given to protocols and accountability for reducing devastation from fire management and post-fire hazards, including appropriate services available to rehabilitate from both the state and federal levels of government.
“It is time that we closely examine forest and wildfire management practices and policies to assess potential improvements that will minimize the impact of these fires on Arizonans and our environment,” Cook said in a statement. “We will perform our due diligence to ensure that the citizens of Arizona are getting the help they deserve during, and after, a fire. The state needs the ability to make decisions that are best for Arizona taxpayers and rural communities, and this committee will help us do that.”
Bowers, who lost his family’s cabin near Miami to the massive Telegraph Fire this summer, said wildfires are devastating communities and the environment.
“Given the recent history of wildfire in our state, I believe it’s appropriate for the Legislature to examine how we potentially can improve management practices with the goal of better protecting people and property,” Bowers said.
House ad hoc committees are formed by the speaker to address a specific purpose and period of time.
The committee is expected to hold a series of public hearings this year.
Cook, who saw parts of his Globe area ranch burned in the Telegraph Fire, represents Legislative District 8, which includes Casa Grande, Coolidge and Florence as well as southern Gila County.
The Telegraph Fire, which burned for several weeks in June, consumed more than 180,700 acres and destroyed 52 structures.