After a record breaking, expensive year to fight wildfires, the U.S. Forest Service may just get some of that money back to help prevent future burns.
Federal officials drained more than $575 million from accounts that would’ve been used to help restore forests ravaged by previous wildfires and prevent new ones from sparking up.
Instead, they spent that cash as part of a firefighting effort that’s already topped $2 billion in 2017 – the most expensive year on record.
Now, budget director Mick Mulvaney has asked Congress to replace all of that money as part of the White House’s disaster relief proposal to shore up areas devastated by recent hurricanes.
However, additional funding alone will not reverse the worsening trend of catastrophic wildfires that threaten our forests, critical habitats, and communities that border public lands," Mulvaney wrote in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell earlier this week.
The $29 billion bill would mostly be split by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the National Flood Insurance Program to aid areas along the Gulf Coast, Florida and Puerto Rico.
Idaho’s congressional delegation has joined with a bipartisan coalition of western lawmakers who have called on the House and Senate to permanently fix fire borrowing for years and say this nod from the Trump Administration is key to finding a long-term solution.
For more local news, follow James Dawson on Twitter @RadioDawson
Copyright 2017 Boise State Public Radio