Big boost in federal firefighting budget proposed

By Peter Aleshire
Payson Roundup
October 6, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Rep. Paul Gosar

A coalition of western congressmen including Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Prescott) this week applauded a $576 million boost in the federal wildfire budget.The group also continues to push for a sweeping waiver of environmental laws to speed up logging projects, a move decried by many environmental groups. The National Interagency Fire Center reports that so far in 2017 some 50,000 wildfires have burned 8.4 million acres. The federal government has spent $2.5 billion on firefighting already this year — a new record. The agency has exhausted its firefighting budget and must now pull money out of other accounts — including the money it had budgeted to thin forests to reduce fire danger. …The Trump Administration responded to a plea for emergency firefighting help signed by 31 western congressmen including Gosar by proposing a $576 million increase in the firefighting budget for the current year. The request accompanied a $12 billion supplemental request to provide relief for areas hit by hurricanes.

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