President submits $615 million emergency funding request for wildland fire

As part of an emergency funding request to Congress primarily to deal with the immigration issue, President Obama also asked for $615 million to be put into a fund to pay for wildfires. Having this money up front would hopefully prevent the federal land management agencies from being forced to rob money from unrelated accounts in order to pay firefighting bills.

The total of the emergency request is $3.73 billion. Most of it would go toward managing the influx of child migrants crossing the Southwest border from Central America.

In regard to the appropriation for fires, the President said:

“This funding would provide for the necessary expenses for wildfire suppression and rehabilitation activities this fiscal year so we can fight fires without having to resort to damaging transfers from our wildfire treatment and protection activities,” Obama wrote in a letter to congressional leaders. “Too often in recent years, this cycle of transfers has undermined our efforts to prepare for and reduce the severity of wildfires, which is both fiscally imprudent and self-defeating.”

“This approach would provide funding certainty in future years for firefighting costs, free up resources to invest in areas that will promote long-term forest health and reduce fire risk, and maintain fiscal responsibility by addressing wildfire disaster needs through agreed-upon funding mechanisms,” he wrote.

Rep. Hal Rogers from Kentucky, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, was open to the President’s wildfire request, saying in a statement it is “apparent that additional funding to prevent and fight wildland fires — especially in the West where the damage has been so great — is necessary.”

Thanks and a hat tip go out to Ryan.

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

One thought on “President submits $615 million emergency funding request for wildland fire”

  1. Would any of this help stem the federal agencies from billing local jurisdictions on fires based on percent effort? Cost sharing based on “acreage burned” was a great way of doing business but seems to be fading on bigger incidents.


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