President Proposes $870 million for Department of the Interior Wildland Fire Management in Fiscal Year 2019

President Proposes $870 million for Department of the Interior Wildland Fire Management in Fiscal Year 2019
12 February 2018

Published by United States Department of Interior

Funding will protect people, property and Tribal communities from destructive wildfires

USA – WASHINGTON – President Trump today requested $870.4 million in appropriations for the
Department of the Interior’s (DOI) Wildland Fire Management (WFM) program for fiscal year (FY)
2019. The proposal represents a strategic investment in DOI’s wildland fire management and
operations in support of efforts to manage wildfires across the United States. The proposed budget
makes critical investments in fire prevention, readiness, and efforts to reduce the threat of wildfire
through prescribed fires and other methods.

“In September, I directed all land managers to adopt aggressive practices to prevent the spread of catastrophic wildfires,” said Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke. “The President’s budget request for
the Wildland Fire Management program provides the resources needed for fuels management and
efforts that will help protect firefighters, the public and local communities.”

“DOI plays a central role in minimizing the impacts of wildfires through an integrated WFM program
that provides safer conditions for firefighters and the public, as well as protects critical infrastructure,
Tribal trust assets, and important natural and cultural resources,” said Jeff Rupert, Director of the
Office of Wildland Fire. “It is essential that we complement fire suppression efforts with investments in
strategic fuels reduction and active land management in order to advance the goals of the Cohesive

The FY 2019 budget request includes $388.1 million for suppression operations, which responsibly
funds 100 percent of the 10-year average for suppression. In 2017, more than 66,000 fires burned
almost 9.8 million acres of Federal, Tribal, State, and private lands. DOI and the U.S. Forest Service
spent more than the $3 billion combined on wildfire suppression this past year, which was the costliest
on record.

To alleviate the need to borrow from non-WFM accounts to fund suppression operations, the FY 2019
budget proposes to amend the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act and establish a
separate annual budget cap adjustment for wildfire suppression operations. This would authorize an
additional $1.5 billion for suppression, which would be allocated between DOI and the U.S. Forest
Service to ensure sufficient resources are available during the most severe fire seasons. The budget
request proposes to discontinue use of the FLAME Wildfire Suppression Reserve Fund by
consolidating it with the Suppression Operations account.

The FY 2019 budget request includes $322.2 million for fire preparedness efforts that support DOI’s
critical initial response capabilities. The acquisition, contracting, and funding for aerial resources,
engines, hand crews, and other equipment are critical to DOI’s readiness to respond to wildlfires. DOI
will continue to be a federal leader in the use of unmanned aircraft systems management and other
resource management purposes. UAS have played a key role in the tactical support of wildfires through
improved fire surveillance and reconnaissance that increase firefighter safety and allow for better
operational planning.

DOI remains committed to its Tribal trust responsibilities. The FY 2019 budget includes $10 million to
continue the Reserved Treaty Rights Land program that supports landscape restoration and the
management of Tribal resources, primarily through collaborative fuels management projects. This
program coupled with other WFM funding is essential to the economic and ecological sustainability of
Tribal lands and forests.

To help safeguard local communities against the threat of catastrophic wildlfires, the FY 2019 budget
request includes $150.6 million to fund fuels management projects. The funding supports the Secretary
of the Interior’s Wildland Fire Directive, which prioritizes fuels management funding and project work
to address the accumulation of vegetation in fire prone areas. Extended periods of drought in many
regions have led to longer and more complex fire seasons. The management of fuels – including
unnatural or overgrown vegetation – through the use of prescribed fire, mechanical treatments, and
other means is an important component of the overall WFM program and an investment that protects
natural resources, people, communities, and infrastructure by limiting the risk of catastrophic wildfires.

The goal of the WFM program is to achieve an integrated, cost-efficient, and technically sound fire
management program that meets resource and safety objectives. As outlined in the National Cohesive
Wildland Fire Management Strategy, the guiding program principles and priorities are to safely and
effectively respond to wildfires, promote fire-adapted communities, and create fire- resilient landscapes
through direct program activities and strong Federal, Tribal, state, and local collaboration. DOI’s WFM
program is comprised of the Office of Wildland Fire and four bureaus with wildland fire management
responsibilities – the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Bureau of Land Management, the Fish and Wildlife
Service, and the National Park Service.

For more information on wildland fire, please visit @DOIWildlandFire or

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