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Our favorite stories about public lands and opportunities for you to get involved in protecting your outdoor experiences.

 

WDFA Advocacy Day: Protect our Forests with Wildfire Funding Reform

Tania Lown-Hecht

Wildfire management matters to everyone who loves to get outside to camp, bike, backcountry ski, climb, paddle, and run. The cost of managing wildfires routinely exceeds the Forest Service budget for fire fighting. This forces the Forest Service to deplete other parts of its budget, often funds set aside for trail maintenance or recreation.  As “megafires” become more common in the West, we need to reform how we manage the cost of fighting fires. The Wildfire Disaster Funding Act (WDFA), H.R. 167, which we’ve written about before, proposes commonsense reforms to improve how we fund wildfire management.

June 17 is House Advocacy Day for WDFA, a bipartisan agreement that proposes treating extreme wildfires like other extreme natural disasters. Reforms like WDFA make good sense for protecting landscapes and our human-powered adventures on them.

The Department of the Interior and the Forest Service are currently the only two agencies responsible for the full burden of fighting wildfires. With hotter summers and more droughts in the west, the costs to fight fires have increased dramatically. Since 2002, the cost of fire fighting has routinely exceeded the Forest Service budget. In just two years (2012 and 2013), the Forest Service had to move $1 billion from other programs to fight fires. A champion of WDFA, Representative Mike Simpson of Idaho, said, “this bill will allow us to continue to fight fires without crippling our ability to prevent future ones from burning out of control.”

Wildfire funding reform makes sense, protects our forests and mountains, and has strong bipartisan support. If you want to help, call or write your Representative today to tell them to support the Wildfire Disaster Funding Act.