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Bipartisan wildfire and drought bill package passes U.S. House

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bipartisan package that would help states recover from wildfires and provide half a billion dollars to keep Lake Mead and Lake Powell from dropping to critical levels. 

The Wildfire Response Improvement Act came about because members of Congress considered it unfair that federal help ends on wildfires once the fire is put out. Democrats said federal aid for other natural disasters is disproportionately higher than for wildfires. Arizona Congressman Greg Stanton introduced the bills.

"The wildfire response and drought resiliency act is a necessary step to help our communities deal with the impacts of climate change and a drier future," on the House floor.

The package includes the Colorado River Drought Response Act which gives $500 million to the Department of the Interior for the two regional water supplies.

The measure now heads to the Senate.

Fronteras Desk senior editor Michel Marizco is an award-winning investigative reporter based in Flagstaff.