Rep. Adam B. Schiff, a California congressman and former federal prosecutor, is pressing for legislation that would set up a national system for tracking convicted arsonists, a program similar to the sex offenders registry, reports the Los Angeles Times. Schiff advocates passage of the Managing Arson Through Criminal History (MATCH) Act. The bill is one of a spate of measures aimed at reducing the threat of wildfires.
The economic stimulus bill included $515 million to reduce wildfire risks, much of it going to provide jobs clearing brush and thinning forests. The House recently approved — and the Senate is soon expected to take up — the Federal Land Assistance, Management and Enhancement (FLAME) Act to create a special fund to cover the escalating cost of fighting wildfires. And Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) is renewing her effort to pass bills that would increase federal assistance to disaster victims and offer federal grants for fire-prone communities to take preventive measures. The flurry of legislation comes as federal firefighting costs have grown and concerns about wildfires have increased because of drought and global warming.