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Bipartisan Group of Senators To Congress: Permanent Wildfire Funding Fix Must be a Top Priority

Senator Dianne Feinstein

Senator Dianne Feinstein

Washington – In the wake of historic wildfires in California, Oregon, Idaho, Washington and across the West, Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) introduced an updated version of their bipartisan wildfire funding solution that would protect desperately needed funding for fire prevention and treat wildfires as the natural disasters they are.
The Wildfire Disaster Funding Act of 2017 would end the destructive cycle of borrowing from fire prevention accounts to put out fires and stop the erosion of the Forest Service’s budget by reforming the way the federal government funds wildfires.

“Wildfires have already burned millions of acres this year across the West, and the fire season is far from over. It’s long past time we treat wildfires like other natural disasters and allow federal agencies to pay for them like other natural disasters,” Feinstein said. “Our bipartisan bill would end the need for so-called ‘fire borrowing,’ where funding for fire prevention efforts is diverted to fighting wildfires, delaying or canceling critical prevention work. We must empower federal agencies with the tools they need to protect public safety and get ahead of what could be yet another catastrophic fire year.”