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70 Special Districts, Cities & Counties Urge for Certainty for Retardant Use against Wildfire

June 2, 2023 

A coalition of 70 local governments called on Congressional leadership to move legislation to ensure fire agencies’ ability to use fire retardants to combat wildfire. 

Click here to read the House letter and here to read the Senate letter. 

The June 1 coalition letter sent to House, Senate, and Senate Environment and Public Works Committee leaderships urges Congress to pass the Forest Protection and Wildland Firefighter Safety Act, which would codify the exemption that federal, state, and local firefighting agencies leverage to apply fire retardant against wildfire without violating the Clean Water Act. 

Senator Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo., sponsors S. 796, the Senate version of the bill and Congressman Doug LaMalfa sponsors the bipartisan House bill, H.R. 1586

Meanwhile, A federal judge in Montana ruled on May 25 that the U.S. Forest Service’s aerial application of fire retardants to combat wildfire violates CWA and must seek a permit for continued use. As this process could take up to two years, the judge will allow federal fire agencies to continue use of retardants until a final decision is made on a permit. The U.S. Forest Service is required to update the court on its progress every six months. This decision applies in the Ninth Federal Circuit states of Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington.  

The National Special Districts Coalition coordinated the coalition letter sent from 55 special districts, 12 counties, and three cities.  

“The letter sends a clear message from a diverse group of local governments, from West to East, united by a common threat,” said Cole Arreola-Karr, NSDC Federal Advocacy Director. “While we are relieved the court will allow application of retardant while the U.S Forest Service seeks permit, we are eager for certainty that this public policy issue is one that must be favorably resolved for the public health, safety, vitality, and even existence, of wildland-urban interface communities.” 

NSDC thanks its Member organizations, the National Association of Counties, and Streamline for extending this advocacy opportunity, and especially thanks the local governments signing onto the letter: 


  1. Coconino County; Supervisor Patrice Horstman, Chair 


  1. City of Lake Elsinore; Jason Simpson, City Manager 
  1. City of Menifee; Mayor Bill Zimmerman 
  1. City of San Jacinto; Robert Johnson, City Manager 
  1. Durham Irrigation District; Matt Doyle, Board Chair 
  1. Golden Hills Community Services District (Tehachapi); Susan Wells, General Manager 
  1. Modoc County; Supervisor Ned Coe, 1st District 
  1. Montecito Fire Protection District; David Neels, Fire Chief 
  1. Placer County Water Agency; Anthony Firenzi, Director of Strategic Affairs 
  1. Rancho Santa Fe Fire Protection District; Alicea Caccavo, Manager, Finance & Administration 
  1. Riverside County; Supervisor Kevin Jeffries, Chair of the Board of Supervisors 
  1. Stallion Springs Community Services District (Tehachapi); Vanessa Stevens, General Manager 
  1. Tahoe City Public Utility District; Sean Barclay, General Manager 
  1. Tulare County; Supervisor Dennis Townsend, Chairman of the Board 
  1. Tuolumne Utilities District (Sonora); Don Perkins, General Manager 


  1. Eagle River Fire Protection District (Edwards); Kari Bauer, Fire Chief 
  1. Elizabeth Fire Protection District; TJ Steck, Fire Chief 
  1. Elk Creek Fire Protection District (Conifer); Jacob N. Ware, Fire Chief 
  1. Fraser Valley Metropolitan Recreation District; Scott Ledin, Executive Director 
  1. Hot Sulphur Springs Fire Protection District; Toni Russell, Lieutenant 
  1. Hyland Hills Park and Recreation District (Federal Heights); Yvonne Fischbach, Executive Director 
  1. La Veta Fire Protection District; Ronald Jameson, Chief 
  1. Lyons Fire Protection District; Paul Davidovich, President of the Board of Directors 
  1. Summit Fire & EMS (Frisco); Travis Davis, Fire Chief 
  1. Telluride Fire Protection District; John S. Bennett, District Chief 


  1. Fort Myers Shores Fire Protection & Rescue Service District; Robert Rewis, Fire Chief 
  1. Estero Fire and Rescue; Scott A. Vanderbrook, Fire Chief 
  1. San Carlos Park Fire Protection & Rescue Service District; David Cambareri, Fire Chief/District Manager 


  1. Lincoln County; Commissioner Rebecca Wood, Chairman of the Board 
  1. Idaho County; Commissioner Skip Brant, Chairman of the Board 

New Mexico 

  1. Union County; Commissioner Clay Kiesling 


  1. Ashland Fire & Rescue; Ralph E. Sartain II, Fire Chief 
  1. Chiloquin Fire & Rescue; C. Michael Cook, Fire Chief  
  1. Clackamas Fire District (Milwaukie); Nick Browne, Fire Chief 
  1. Cove Rural Fire Protection District; Nathiel “Nate” Conrad, President 
  1. Estacada Fire District; Ian O’Connor, Fire Chief 
  1. Glide Rural Fire Protection District; Ted Damewood, Fire Chief 
  1. Grant County; County Commissioner Jim Hamsher 
  1. Hauser Rural Fire Protection District (North Bend); Jerry Wharton, Fire Chief 
  1. Illinois Valley Fire District (Cave Junction); John J. Holmes; Fire Chief, Chief Executive Officer 
  1. Jackson County Fire District 3 (White City); Mike Hussey, Fire Chief 
  1. Junction City Rural Fire Protection District; Brandon Nicol, Fire Chief 
  1. Keizer Fire District; Ryan Russell, Fire Chief 
  1. Klamath Irrigation District; Gene Souza, Executive Director 
  1. Lake Chinook Fire & Rescue (Culver); Don Colfels, Fire Chief 
  1. Lebanon Aquatic District; Loree Engler, Executive Director 
  1. Lebanon Rural Fire Protection District; Joseph Rodondi, Fire Chief 
  1. Marion County Fire District #1; Kyle McMann, Fire Chief 
  1. McKenzie Fire/Rescue (Leaburg); Darren Bucich, Fire Chief 
  1. Medford Fire Department; Eric Thompson, Fire Chief 
  1. Nestucca Rural Fire Protection District (Cloverdale); James Oeder, Fire Chief 
  1. Northern Wasco County People’s Utility District; Cyndi Gentry, Director of Corporate Services 
  1. Ontario Rural Fire Protection District; Clint Benson, Fire Chief 
  1. Port of The Dalles; Greg Weast, Commission President 
  1. Rogue River Rural Fire Protection District (Gold Hill); Mike Hammond, Fire Chief 
  1. Scappoose Fire District; Jeff Pricher, Fire Chief 
  1. Sisters-Camp Sherman Rural Fire Protection District; Roger Johnson, Fire Chief  
  1. South Lane County Fire & Rescue (Cottage Grove); John Wooten, Fire Chief 
  1. Sunriver Fire Department; Rodney Bjorvik, Interim Fire Chief 
  1. Tenmile Rural Fire District; Travis W. Henderson, Fire Chief 
  1. Tygh Valley Water District; Dan Jaffe, Board Chair 
  1. Umatilla County Fire District 1; Scott Stanton, Fire Chief 
  1. Umatilla County Special Library District; Heather Estrada, District Director 
  1. Vernonia Rural Fire Protection District; Robert Davis, Fire Chief 
  1. Wasco County; County Commissioner Scott Hege 
  1. Williams Rural fire Protection District; Bill Ertel, Board of Directors 


  1. Travis County Emergency Services District No. 5; Chris Barron, Chief 


  1. Beaver County; Commissioner Wade Hollingshead, Chairman 


  1. Yakima County; County Commissioner Amanda McKinney 


  1. Park County Fire Protection District #2; Jerry Parker, Administrator/Fire Warden 


Contact Cole Arreola-Karr, NSDC Federal Advocacy Director, for more information.