Forest Service Predicts Shortfall of Funds Needed to Fight Wildfires This Year

Monday, May 05, 2014
Wildfire near Glendora, Califonria January 16, 2014 (photo: Nick Ut, AP)

The U.S. Forest Service and the Department of the Interior have said that they’re nearly a half billion dollars short of the money they predict they will need to fight wildfires in the coming season.


The predicted $470 million shortfall will have to be made up by taking money from conservation, recreation and other programs.


The organizations have been required since 2009 to report on how much money they think they will need to spend on fire suppression. This year’s estimate of $1.8 billion is higher than most, based on factors such as drought throughout the Western states, particularly in California.

“With climate change contributing to longer and more intense wildfire seasons, the dangers and costs of fighting those fires increase substantially,” Department of the Interior Assistant Secretary of Policy, Management and Budget Rhea Suh said in a statement.


The report said that in the past 30 years, the fire seasons have increased from 60 to 80 days annually and the areas burned have more than doubled to more than 7 million acres each year. Firefighting has also gotten more expensive because there are more people living closer to forests.

-Steve Straehley


To Learn More:

Cost of Fighting Wildfires in 2014 Projected to be Hundreds of Millions of Dollars over Amount Available (United States Department of Agriculture)

Cost of Fighting Wildfires Expected To Exceed Available Funds (by Josh Hicks, Washington Post)

U.S. Department of Agriculture Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Overview

High-Tech Device Shortage Threatens Cargo Plane Wildfire System (by Ken Broder, AllGov California)

The Rising Cost of Wildfires (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


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