USA — At the end of last year, Senator Dianne Feinstein and Representative Jerry Lewis secured $500 million in emergency funding for fire prevention and recovery projects.
The fires that occurred last year around the U.S. and especially the fires in California drained a lot of the funds for the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management. The U.S. Forest Service has received $329 million, while the Bureau of Land Management will receive $171 million.
The U.S. Forest Service will use the money for refilling accounts and on efforts to suppress emergency fires. They will also be using $119 million in efforts to reduce hazardous fuels, rehabilitate burn zones and on reconstruction of its structures that were damaged in fires last year.
A majority of that money, $93 million, will be used specifically in California.
Senator Feinstein gave the statement, This is good news for California. It is a major infusion of badly needed money for Southern California, and it will go where it is needed most: Toward making our National Forests, State and private lands more fire-safe.
She also talked of the wildfire threat in California, saying, Wildfires are a significant threat to California. Our state is tinder-dry, and the fire risk is made worse through drought and global warming. Fire season is longer, and wildfires burn hotter and with greater intensity.
There is no doubt that the funds invested by the Forest Service in reducing the risks of forest fires in California will almost certainly pay off in savings of federal expenditures down the line, Representative Lewis stated. He continued, Fire officials were convinced that fuels reduction programs helped dramatically in cutting back on the losses from fires around Lake Arrowhead last year, and I am confident that the programs funded here will see similar positive results in the future.
Most of the $93 million to be used in California will be focused on federal lands that the U.S. Forest Service has jurisdiction over. However, $26 million will be used to reduce hazardous fuels on State and private lands, with $18 million going to various counties in Southern California and $8 million going to the various California Fire Safe Councils. These funds will most likely be given in the form of grants.