Wyden And Crapo Introduce Wildfire Funding Bill

Oregon Democratic Senator Ron Wyden and Idaho Republican Senator Mike Crapo introduced a bipartisan bill today to overhaul federal wildfire policy to boost funding for fire prevention and treat the largest wildfires as natural disasters.  Federal agencies currently base wildland fire suppression budgets on the average costs of the past 10 years, which has tended to be inadequate to pay firefighting costs, and the U.S. Forest Service and Interior Department have been forced to take money from other programs to make up the difference.  The bill would fund those catastrophic fires as natural disasters by making any fire suppression spending above 70 percent of the 10-year average eligible to be funded under a separate disaster account.  Washington Senator Maria Cantwell…the top Democrat on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, is a co-sponsor of the bill.

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