Forest Service Chief testifies about proposed budget for next fiscal year

Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen budget FY2020
Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen testified about the White House’s proposed budget for FY2020 on May 15, 2019.

A Senate Appropriations Committee Subcommittee, the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies, held a hearing May 15 to receive testimony from Vicki Christiansen, Chief of the U.S. Forest Service, about the administration’s proposed budget for next year, FY2020. In response to some of the questions related to recommended cuts by the White House, the Chief politely mentioned the fact that the administration ordered an overall five percent cut in the Forest Service budget.

One of the first topics of discussion were the large reductions in two programs. This fiscal year the Volunteer Fire Assistance program was funded at $11 million and State Fire Assistance program at $66 million. These programs provide assistance to states and local fire departments for wildland fire prevention, detection, and suppression. In Fiscal Year 2019, the programs were funded at $17 million and $81 million respectively.

I made two of the three clips below to highlight the sections when the committee was discussing fire-related issues. In the first one Chief Christiansen is asked to defend the cuts in the Volunteer Fire Assistance and State Fire Assistance programs.

In the next Clip Senator Tom Udall of New Mexico asks Forest Service Chief Christiansen if the proposed funding amounts for next fiscal year can help restore forests and reduce the need for fire suppression.

Senator Steve Daines of Montana asks Chief of the Forest Service Vicki Christiansen if more fuel breaks should be constructed along roads.

In an April 9 hearing before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee other issues were discussed about funding for next fiscal year.

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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.

2 thoughts on “Forest Service Chief testifies about proposed budget for next fiscal year”

  1. Ok. So let’s back off of suppression resources, and start contracting fuels reduction stuff, let fires that start on fed land go into the WUI, other agencies will suppress. This is the beginning of the end! Gov agency’s dont want their forestry tech’s to be firefighters. Specialized gov wildland firefighters will be no more within 10yrs. It’ll all be contractors, that’s the government endgame.

    1. Those funds that she wants to chip off are monies that are given to those local agencies to provide them with new nomex gear, hose, tools excetra, equipment to put out the fire. Not personnel to use those tools. She is not trying with those reductions to cut fire personnel suppression dollars. She doesn’t want to reduce fire fighters. She has plenty of money for suppression, now with the new “fire suppression dollars” she can dip into. She is no dummy, she picked 2 areas where she knew Congress found pick a fight and would restore those funds when it effected their local constitutes. Those local fire departments depend on those dollars to fix their broken rigs and replace worn out gear. Most everything used on a wildland fire can be replaced in fire camp or at a local cache, but those FD’s need those dollars to fix up those water tenders and type 6’s that may get cleared in demob, but only by the chicken wire a bailing string they brought with them.


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