Forest Service Outta Cash to Fight FiresBy Steve Casimiro on October 9th, 2012
It’s not surprising that the U.S. Forest Service dug deep into the budget to fight fires this year – it was the biggest wildfire season on record, and officials knew back in May that they’d run out of cash to keep those tankers in the air. What is surprising — or not, actually, since we’re talking about government — is how messed up the funding is for fire suppression. Congress gave the USFS just half the $1 billion it needed because it calculates the amount base on an average of the last 10 years. The only problem is that wildfires are getting much bigger and more intense than even 10 years ago, so the formula is whack. Also whack: Congress created a special fire fighting fund that would roll surpluses from light fire years forward, to be used in busier seasons. A great idea, but when those surpluses did in fact build up, Congress took $200 million and used it for something else. Via Washington Post
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