Saturday, May 3, 2014

U.S. Wildfire Fighting Budget Not Up To Snuff, Says Government Agency

The drought on the West Coast and in the Southwest means the wild fire season this year in that neck of the woods looks like it will be a bad one.  
A California wildfire last year.  

Unfortunately, it looks like there might not be enough money budgeted to fight the fires. 

In a press release issued last week, the USDA said they expect a shortfall of $470 million to fight fires this season.

Fighting these fires is expensive. The government has budgeted $1.4 billion to fight the fires, and the USDA forecasts  at least $1.8 billion will be needed.

Of course, if the government runs out of money to fight fires, they won't put their fire hoses and water dropping aircraft away. They'll continue to battle the blazes, and just take money from other programs, some of which would help prevent or mitigate future fires, according to the USDA.

The cost of fire fighting has gone up for two main reasons. Fire seasons are longer and worse than they used to be, probably because of climate change.  Over the past three decades the fire season length has increased by more than two moths and the annual acreage burned in the U.S. has more than doubled to 7 million acres annually.

And a lot of us are building houses in woodsy places that easily go up in flames.

So firefighters have to spend a lot of resources trying to protect those houses.

Hmm. Maybe building a dream house in some tinder dry wilderness isn't such a good idea after all.

No comments:

Post a Comment