USA — Companion bills sponsored by Western U.S. legislators has been endorsed by President Obama to reform the federal wildfire policy by funding major wildfires the same way as other natural disasters, while freeing up funding to prevent future fires.
President Obama announced during his meeting with Western Governors on Monday afternoon
Obama: In the budget that Im going to send to Congress next week, Im going to propose fundamentally reforming the way federal government fund wild fire suppression and prevention to make it more stable and secure.
Currently agencies base wild land fire suppression budgets on the average costs of the past 10 years. That approach has underestimated the actual costs eight of the last 10 years and forced the U.S. Forest Service and Interior Department to take money from other important programs to make the difference.
This plan would treat the largest fires roughly 1 percent of the annual fires as natural disasters and funds firefighting efforts from the same disaster account that funds hurricane and other natural disaster relier efforts.
Removing those mega fires from the regular budget could free up to $412 million for land management agencies to fund fire prevention. Thanks to our Oregon and Idaho senators and congressmen that had a part in crafting these companion bills.