Congressman Greg Walden

Representing the 2nd District of Oregon

Walden highlights importance of emergency communications to fire response in Oregon

September 7, 2017
Press Release

Walden highlights importance of emergency communications to fire response in Oregon

Click here or on the image above to view Walden’s remarks form today’s hearing

WASHINGTON, D.C. – During a hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Committee today, Chairman Greg Walden (R-Hood River) cited fires currently raging across Oregon as need for reliable emergency communications systems. Walden highlighted the importance of these emergency communications systems during catastrophic events such as the devastating wildfires that have been ravaging Oregon throughout the summer, as well as hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

"I join those who are keeping in our thoughts and prayers all those affected by hurricanes and flooding from Harvey and Irma. I would also add to that list a couple of names you are not familiar with: Chetco, Eagle Creek, Indian Creek, among others, which are the fires that are ravaging the northwest, including just a few miles from where I live. 

“This week the Eagle Creek took off and has now burned 33,000 acres – I had embers on my deck from 17 miles away. The freeway is closed, the rail lines are closed, and even the mighty Columbia River is not allowing barge traffic at this time. This is in the National Columbia River Scenic Area – it seems like every corner of our country is affected.

"The brave citizens, our first responders, the firefighters, and EMTs are helping out every step of the way. Our broadcasters – both public and commercial – are also helping. Cell phone towers are staying up and operating. Emergency communications are working. Our HAM radio operators – of which I am one – are very active in all of this as well.

“This all speaks to the importance of this hearing today. We must make sure that we have the most vibrant and modern communications platforms in the world and make sure that they continue to provide emergency and day-to-day operations to our citizens.”

Walden is continuing his work in Congress to address how federal forests are managed and how wildfires are controlled. In a recent Facebook post, Walden called for action to improve federal forest policy and address how fires are fought, including policies that affect firefighting in wilderness areas.