Call Us: 1-800-568-2403  /  1-712-792-3143 email:

Feds Consider Wildfire Funding Reform Bill

Posted by Feld Fire on 9/10/2014 to Fire Fighting

This has been a pretty tough last few years for wildfires in the U.S., especially in the western states. Over the last five years in California, for example, firefighters have had to prepare for an average (average!) of more 3,000 wildfires every year - or about 250 every month, or about eight per day. Eight per day!

Needless to say, that kind of workload can really wear on firefighting crews and on the purse strings that give out money for wildfire efforts, especially those on federal lands. As Congress returns for a short pre-election term of business, there is a bill being pushed that would reform how the federal government pays for wildfires on federal lands like national parks and monuments - which are prevalent in the western states, especially, and have been hit hard by wildfires the last few years.

But the federal government has funded operations a bit differently when it comes to wildfires. Because of the increased activity in recent years, the federal government has been forced to pay for firefighting operations by taking money out of the fire-prevention efforts - such as forest thinning, controlled burns and clearing away dry brush. With more resources going to fighting existing fires, there has been less money to prevent new fires from starting. And thus the vicious cycle starts.

A California congressman is taking to Capitol Hill with a bill that would move around the wildfire money to create a reserve account. This way, if and when there is a firefighting budget overrun, money can be tapped from the reserve and not from the wildfire prevention account, meaning that resources to prevent new fires would not be sacrificed - which could then break the vicious cycle.

As this session of Congress is expected to be very short due to the upcoming midterm elections, this particular bill has an uncertain result, since there are more pressing issues nationally like passing a new federal budget by October 1. Chances of the bill being put to any committee or floor vote are very low before the election, but may happen during the "lame duck" session in December.

Add Comment

Browse By Category