New Wildfire Funding Pot?

I saw this one on the web, perhaps someone has a more complete story?

“On Monday, President Obama will lay out a new plan for wildfire funding in the US, treating the fires in much the same way as the government treats hurricanes and tornados and their associated costs. Basically, when the president declares a disaster, FEMA is authorized to tap into a special disaster account, the amount of which is updated according to a “10 year average cost of responding to such events,” according to The New York Times. Obama’s forthcoming budget proposal would grant similar authority to the Interior and Agriculture Departments, the parent agencies of the Forest Service and BLM.”

Here’s the link..

6 Comments

  1. It doesn’t really seem much different than the Flame Act, setting aside a chunk of money to pay for more Let-Burn fires. I’d rather see some money going towards formal NEPA for Let-Burn fires, rather than “winging it”. Otherwise, how do we know that endangered species won’t be impacted by Let-Burn fires up to 100,000 acres?

  2. If you accept that climate change is real, has its own inertia, then shouldn’t it follow that stand removal fire be a part of that, if only to site prepare for whatever species will inhabit the burned areas following fire? I would presume that LP is there because of temperature regimes of the past, and a new, warmer environment would favor tree species that compete well in warmer temperatures, as well as drier conditions. As such, the issue of pine bark beetles becomes moot if the replacement species are not pines, especially LP, I think Bonnicksen talked about the migrating forests that move north and south and up and down the elevations, as climates have changed since the last Ice Age. It would follow that assigning judgement to the climate result is about personal choice for a different result, a Sisyphean task at the least.

    A fire fighting payment scheme that is flexible and able to respond to fire on a sliding scale of need, makes sense. Mining that money, and that will be attempted, to fund other priorities under the guise of fire fighting expense is disingenuous. If Congress is not willing to spend money on forests that are predicted to burn in climate change fires, land managers need to accept that and manage accordingly. We all live under the delusion that Congress is we the people, and will do the wishes of the majority. Increasingly, it appears that our Congress is a punitive body, involved in a self absorbed dance of their own making, for their own benefit, and the health of the Federal forests is a problem for some states in the West and most of the votes in the West are in CA, WA, OR, NV, and are Democrat.

    I watch as our legislatures spend most of their time in a legislative fight over same sex marriage, abortion, immigration, legal dope, and now, how to water the lawn and fill the pool for 35 million people in CA living in a desert who have oversubscribed all their watersheds, and the Colorado River watershed, all because of how the North Pacific high pressure set itself up this year and in the past, is producing a drought. Fire is an after thought until it is licking at their door. And even then it is someone else’s problem to fix.

    There now is no fix. No money to fix it. No will to fix it. A litany of laws to prevent a fix. A decade of more ago, the bureaucracy of Federal forest management looked at the whole of it, and made the decision to let as much of it burn as possible, which would remove fuel and somebody in the future could deal with fuels as they rebuild. The fires are far from the electoral majority. They are somebody else’s problem. The NGOs have sold the story that fires are good for the environment, the airsheds, the earth. The issue is that to “help” the greenhouse gas induced global climate change, we need a place to sequester carbon. I guess if you burn 100 million acres, all that grows back is an ongoing carbon sequestering event. Having an ongoing limitless funding program to try to protect lives and some property is better than what we now have. This Administration pays its bills by printing more money. Why not for fire? Problem solved.

  3. On the face, this smells like budget sleight of hand, a deliberate disconnect by Greens in the administration to support the idea that managing fuels would have no impact whatsoever on the scale of fires. One thing it would certainly do is take away any incentive (admittedly, there is little under current programs) for USFS and BLM to manage prescriptively for future fuels and fire.

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