Nebraska will have more equipment and money this summer to fight wildfires after fires last summer burned 500,000 acres. Senators moved the Wildfire Control Act (LB 634) from Select File last week, just a short step from passage after third round-final reading.
The bill directs the Nebraska Forest Service to contract with aviation companies to place two single-engine air tankers during the fire season at airports near Chadron and Valentine.
The agency would also help thin forests to reduce the risk of rampant fires and provide expanded training programs to emergency personnel, landowners and communities for fire preparedness and reduction.
The costs will be about $1.5 million a year for the next two years.
The bill was introduced by Sen. Al Davis of Hyannis.
TIF for former defense sites
Also, the Legislature would clear the way for communities to use Tax Increment Financing to redevelop former defense sites under the Community Development Law.
The bill is LB 66, introduced by Sen. Ken Schilz of Ogallala.
There are more than 60 sites in the state that would qualify, Schilz said.
Missile silos are not included. A lot of these sites have business potential, such as rail, Schilz said.
Sen. Ernie Chambers of Omaha introduced, and withdrew, two amendments to the bill Wednesday. Chambers said he does not like TIF programs.