The awful math that makes fighting wildfires more expensive every year

By Quincey Tickner
Quartz Media
October 12, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Around 1am last Sunday night, the smell of smoke woke Preston Raisin. He got out of bed, walked around to check on his kids, and made sure his house wasn’t on fire. Turns out his house was on fire, just not the one he was in. Raisin’s vacation home, 55 miles to the north of San Francisco, was burning to the ground. …This year alone, the US Forest Service has spent a record-breaking $2.4 billion to suppress more than 50,000 fires. …Over the last twenty years, the amount the Forest Service has allocated to fight wildfires has tripled from 16% of the overall budget to 52%. The agency estimates that by 2025, that number will increase to 67%. To make matters worse, the more money the Forest Service spends suppressing fires, the less money it has to spend on forest restoration projects to prevent wildfires.

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