Ducey Calls Special Session, $100 Million On Table To Fight Wildfires, Post-Fire Flooding Risks

[Photo courtesy Department of Forestry and Fire Management]

On Tuesday, June 15, the Arizona Legislature will convene for the special session and is expected to vote on a proposal by Governor Doug Ducey later this week. Ducey and legislative leaders announced the special session’s goal is to approve $100 million to combat and prevent wildfires, equip firefighters and communities with the resources they need, and prepare for after effects such as flooding and mudslides.

“This wildfire season has already been devastating, and we still have a long, hot summer ahead of us. While Arizona has strong wildfire suppression and prevention efforts in place, we need to do more,” said Governor Ducey. “Our brave firefighters must have all the necessary tools, resources and support to fight the blazes and stay safe. We need to protect our communities from floods and other disasters that could result from these wildfires. Hard-hit communities and nonprofits offering support need financial assistance to weather the devastation of this wildfire season and protect families in need. We can get this done — and we can do it in an urgent, bipartisan manner. Thank you to Legislative leadership for coming together to develop an investment package that will help so many Arizonans.”

Governor Ducey, state fire professionals, and legislative leadership have identified targeted investments for wildfire preparedness, response and recovery in consultation with impacted local communities. The investments include:

  • $24.6 million for a partnership between the Department of Forest and Fire Management and the Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation and Reentry to reduce wildfire risk to Arizona communities by conducting hazardous vegetation removal; and

  • $75 million for fire suppression efforts, recovery efforts including post-fire floods, economic assistance for those displaced, and assistance to landowners for emergency repairs to infrastructure damaged by wildfires.

On June 9, the Governor issued two Declarations of Emergency in response to the Telegraph and Mescal Fires, making available up to $400,000 for response efforts.

In March, the Governor signed Senate Bill 1442 to prevent wildfires by allowing for additional partnerships to employ Arizona inmates to clear forests of debris. The legislation aligns with the Arizona Healthy Forest Initiative proposed in the Governor’s budget which builds on proven methods to protect communities, while engaging individuals in state correctional facilities to equip them with new skills and reduce recidivism.

This is the third special session since the Governor took office in 2015.