We also want to thank Senator Wyden, Senator Crapo, Senator Risch, Congressman Simpson and Congressman Labrador for their support of the Wildfire Disaster Funding Act.
Wildland firefighting costs, Eversole noted, have been funded on the basis of a 10-year rolling average. “The result is that for years, the USFS has routinely exceeded its firefighting budget, which means it has had to transfer money from other programs, such as conservation, national park maintenance, and fire prevention measures, such as forest thinning,” he explained. “A dedicated supplemental source of emergency funding, which would not impact other USFS programs, will create a more realistic and efficient approach to wildland fire suppression.”
Eversole also pointed out that while routine wildland firefighting would continue to be underwritten by the government in the normal way, it has become apparent that the new normal is increasingly destructive fires, which are becoming a year-round occurrence throughout much of the country-especially in the West-thanks to extreme drought conditions driven by climate change.
“As wildland fires are happening more frequently, more people in the urban-wildland interface are losing their homes and businesses. AHSAFA believes that these fires are no different from an earthquake, flood, or other natural disaster, and urges Congress to provide the necessary funding to permit the USFS to continue fire suppression work, without having to divert money from other essential activities.”
SOURCE American Helicopter Services & Aerial Firefighting Association