The Department of Defense is developing a “firefighting act” that would give the federal government authority to use force to stop wildfires.
The Pentagon’s Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness released the plan in a statement Monday.
It would give local governments and fire departments the power to use firefighting equipment and personnel to stop fires and make them stop, according to the statement.
The plan would be in the works for years, but is now part of the department’s ongoing planning process for dealing with future fires, according the statement, which noted that the federal agencies have “a clear understanding of the challenges facing the firefighting industry.”
The plan is being developed as the Department of Homeland Security tries to contain a wildfire that has burned through hundreds of thousands of acres in Southern California and has forced hundreds of evacuations.
The California fire is one of the worst to hit the state in more than 30 years, destroying homes and destroying crops, prompting officials to call for a state of emergency.