Forest Service Chief Reviews Fire Season, Calls for Two-Part Solution to Fire Budget
Sharing information on FY2015 fire season from the WO- Chief Tidwell outlined two key issues the Forest Service is wrestling with that must be resolved by Congress.
First, the chronic increase in the portion of the Forest Service budget devoted to fire suppression must be stopped. The current rate of increase results in progressively less funding for fire prevention and restoration activities. In 1995, fire suppression made up 16 percent of the Forest Service’s annual appropriated budget—this year, for the first time, more than 50 percent of the budget will be dedicated to fire.
This trend is having a debilitating impact on the Forest Service budget, as well as non-suppression activities within the agency. According to the Forest Service Report Rising Firefighting Costs Raises Alarms three quarters of Forest Service trails cannot be maintained to standard. That not only impacts families wanting to use those trails, it also puts at risk small businesses and communities that depend on recreation jobs and dollars.