Mr. BARBER. Mr. Speaker, Arizonans know only too well the horrific effects wildfires have on our communities.
In July of this year, our State was devastated by the Yarnell Hill fire that swept across 8,400 acres of land in 15 days, killing 19 brave firefighters from the Granite Mountain Hotshots. They died in the line of duty doing one of the hardest jobs in firefighting. This tragedy will leave physical scars on Arizona for many years to come and emotional scars that will last forever.
These fires are not unique to our beautiful State. Every year, communities across our Nation battle wildfires that destroy their land, their homes, and their livelihood and too often take lives. The brave men and women that we send in to fight these wildfires put their lives on the line to protect us.
A decade ago this summer, another devastating fire swept through the community of Summerhaven in my district. It destroyed 350 homes and businesses. That area will not recover fully for centuries.
Two summers ago, my district in southeastern Arizona endured the Horseshoe Two fire. On May 8, 2011, this fire started on the east side of the Chiricahua Mountains near the community of Portal. The fire continued to burn steadily, heading to the northwest; and on June 8, the fire reached the Chiricahua National Monument, burning into the southeast corner of the park. In late June, the fire was finally contained, but by then 223,000 acres within the Chiricahua Mountains had burned.
We were lucky that summer in southeastern Arizona that there was no loss of life. We did not lose one firefighter.
This motion to recommit is very straightforward.
It ensures that we provide our firefighters with the most advanced equipment, including air tankers, communication gear, and personal safety equipment.
As the father-in-law of a firefighter, this issue is both a personal one and one of great importance to the people I represent, to Arizona, and to many communities across the western United States. I think about my son-in-law, Jason, going off to work and my daughter at home with our two grandchildren, one of whom is barely 1 year old. I also think of each brave man and woman across our Nation who leaves a wife, a husband, a son, or a daughter every day to do the same.
We owe our firefighters an eternal debt of gratitude for their courageous work, and we also owe them the best resources to protect them as they put themselves in harm's way in trying to save lives, homes, businesses, our land, and our forests.
This is the final amendment to this bill. It will not kill the bill or send it back to committee. If adopted, the bill will immediately proceed to final passage. I ask my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to join me and stand with our firefighters by supporting this motion to recommit.
I yield back the balance of my time.