Monday, July 08, 2013

Federal Budget For Reducing Wildfires

The Obama administration continues to spend more on putting out forest fires while spending less on preventing them.  Drought, climate change, an increasing number of homes being built near forests and other factors have made for worse fire seasons. For example, in 1991 fires consumed 13 percent of the annual budget of the Forest Service; by 2012, it was 40 percent.

The Center has a Wildfire Mitigation Plan.

For the third year in a row, the Obama administration has proposed slashing spending on hazardous fuels reduction, the federal buzzword for clearing away underbrush and smaller trees through controlled burning and cutting. The idea behind such work is to make future fires easier to put out by removing now the fuel they need to spread rapidly. Congress has cut the program in the past two years. For fiscal 2014, the administration proposes cutting by another 41 percent, or $205 million, eliminating more than 1,000 jobs. These cuts will hit the Forest Service, the National Park Service and other federal land agencies.

In the Yarnell Hill fire that killed 19 members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots fire crew from Prescott, Ariz., dense fuel is one of the conditions that investigators will be looking at.

The remains of a house destroyed by the Yarnell Hill fire, which killed 19 firefighters, the nation's greatest fire loss since the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

So far more than $800,000 has been raised for the families of the 19. See for details.  (NBC News, Photo: Andy Tobin / AP

No comments: