House approves bill to fund wildfire suppression

House approves bill to fund wildfire suppression

11 July 2008

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USA — The House approved a bill Wednesday that would establish a fund for wildfire suppression.

The Federal Land Assistance, Management and Enhancement Act is designed to ensure federal firefighting agencies have enough money to fight fires without having to drain the budgets of other programs such as recreation and restoration programs.

Firefighting accounts approximately 48 percent of the U.S. Forest Service’s budget. The agency has been forced to cut back on other important programs to cover the escalating costs of fire suppression.

“There is little reason to hope that fire seasons for the foreseeable future will be any less catastrophic than those of the last decade — the trend has certainly been working toward more destruction,” said House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Nick Rahall. “Knowing that, we must be better prepared, and the FLAME Act will set us on the correct course.”

The bill would also require the Forest Service and the Interior Department to present to Congress a comprehensive strategy for combating wildland fire — a strategy that would address the troubling shortcomings in the agencies’ response to fires as identified by the Government Accountability Office and the Agriculture Department’s Inspector General.


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