Press Releases

Heller Urged USDA Secretary to Fully Fund Wildfire-Detecting Camera System

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Dean Heller (R-NV), a member of the U.S. Senate Western Caucus, today announced that he successfully secured $226,000 in federal funding for AlertTahoe to protect communities against devastating wildfires in the Lake Tahoe Basin. Specifically, this additional federal funding will help AlertTahoe upgrade its current cameras and install new cameras with the latest firefighting technologies across the Lake Tahoe Basin.

Last month, Heller urged the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to fully fund the AlertTahoe Fire Monitoring and Early Detection Warning System in Nevada, calling the innovative camera system a “worthwhile investment.”

News of the $226,000 in federal funding arrives as the state of Nevada continues to fight the Martin wildfire, which has burned 439,000 acres near Winnemucca, NV.

“Over 1.2 million acres of land were devastated by wildfires in Nevada last year alone, and as Nevada’s firefighters and the Bureau of Land Management continue to battle deadly blazes across Nevada, I’m fighting to make sure we have the necessary resources to detect and prevent future fires,” said Heller. “I welcome the Department of Agriculture’s $226,000 to support the AlertTahoe Fire Monitoring and Early Detection Warning System, which has helped stop hundreds of potentially devastating fires over the past few years. I thank Secretary Perdue for recognizing our need, and for being a strong partner in our shared fight to mitigate and prevent wildfires across the West.”

Heller has been a long-time champion of advancing wildfire prevention policies and supporting AlertTahoe. Last year, he introduced the Emergency Fuel Reduction Act (S.1752), which would eliminate timely federal permitting for hazardous fuel reduction projects on public lands. This legislation gives the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and U.S. Forest Service the tools to clean up dead and dying trees on federal lands in an expedited fashion.

More recently, Heller supported legislation signed into law to provide federal funding for wildfire management and improvements to firefighting by modernizing aviation, radio, and evacuation system infrastructure and other platforms that detect and monitor fire, which includes projects like AlertTahoe. It also directs the Forest Service to partner with the University of Nevada on wildfire risk mapping. Additionally, earlier this year, Heller announced that the Senate Appropriations Committee approved $12 million in federal funding for his Lake Tahoe Restoration Act.

This spring, Heller attended a roundtable discussion with U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, USDA Secretary Perdue, and U.S. Forest Services (USFS) Acting Chief Vicky Christensen and discussed wildfire prevention measures in Nevada and across the West.