Heineman weighs in on wildfire bill - kotanow.com- Scottsbluff Area News, Sports, and Weather

Heineman weighs in on wildfire bill

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Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman weighs in a legislative bill that would improve how first-commanders battle wildfires.

State lawmakers are working on a bill that would create the "Nebraska Wildfire Act of 2013".

One provision of the bill would have air-tankers stationed at the Chadron and Valentine airports.

The most recent version would require the Nebraska Forest Service to contract for the planes.

Heineman says state emergency officials need operational control of the planes to maintain a clear chain-of-command when coordinating their response to fires.

"These planes need to be under the control of the state of Nebraska so we can coordinate that effort. It should not be under control of the federal government or the Nebraska forestry service."

$.3.4 million has already been green-lit by lawmakers to fund this bill.

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