Many states fail to adequately budget for wildfire costs, study says

By Courtney Flatt
Oregon Public Broadcasting
December 4, 2022
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Many states are failing to adequately budget for wildfire costs before, during and after fires, according to a new report from The Pew Charitable Trusts. This lack of proper budgeting can strain resources and pull funds away from efforts to prevent and prepare for wildfires, according to the report. “As fires have grown, so have government spending on the costs associated with them,” said Colin Foard, manager of the Fiscal Federalism Initiative for The Pew Charitable Trusts, a non-profit organization that analyzes public policy. For example, in Washington, the state averaged $24 million annually for wildfire suppression from 2010 to 2014. That spending more than tripled, averaging $83 million from 2015 to 2019. The Pew study looked at how states budget for wildfire costs, the challenges with those budgets, and what can be done to help.

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