In an earlier post, NRDC’s Niel Lawrence is quoted saying that the Forest Service “has learned to maximize its income in the fire suppression business.”
The graph above shows the quotient of Forest Service and Interior Department fire suppression costs between 1997 and 2008. The trend line is provided by Excel. The source is “Air Attack Against Wildfires: Understanding U.S. Forest Service Requirements for Large Aircraft,” published recently by the Rand Corporation.
For the math challenged, the graph shows that the Forest Service’s fire suppression costs, relative to DOI’s for the same years, have been increasing for a decade.
I don’t fully agree with Niel because I think the Forest Service hasn’t yet learned “to maximize its income.” It is still discovering new tricks to increase milk from the fire suppression cash cow, e.g., adopting an ecologically illiterate and expensive wilderness fire suppression policy.