Budget Deal Includes Wildfire Disaster Fund to End Borrowing

Budget Deal Includes Wildfire Disaster Fund to End Borrowing
22 March 2018

Published by https://www.usnews.com/

USA – By MATTHEW DALY, Associated Press. WASHINGTON (AP) — A spending bill slated for a vote in Congress includes a bipartisan plan to create a wildfire disaster fund to help combat increasingly severe wildfires that have devastated the West in recent years.

The bill sets aside more than $20 billion over 10 years to allow the Forest Service and other federal agencies end a practice of raiding non-fire-related accounts to pay for wildfire costs, which exceeded $2 billion last year.

Western lawmakers have long complained that the current funding mechanism — tied to 10-year averages for wildfire — makes budgeting difficult, even as fires burn longer and hotter each year.

The new plan sets aside $2 billion per year — outside the regular budget — so officials don’t have to tap money meant for prevention programs to fight wildfires.

 Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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