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US Forest Firefighting Funds Not Fully Funded

Helicopter and flames
From the 2012 fire season. (Gerald Vickers Photo)
Friday, a legislative admendment to restore over $600 million to the Disaster Assistance fund was rejected by the U.S. Congress.

In an Associated Press report, Senator Mark Udall of Colorado criticized the Senate’s rejection of his amendment, which was co-sponsored by Montana Senator Jon Tester.

The funds would have been used to make sure personnel and aircraft were available in areas of high wildfire risk, and would have helped in removal of fuels in the wildland-urban interface.

In a press release from Udall’s office, he said the he $653 million appropriation would have completely funded the US Forest Service Wildland Fire Management Account, which would’ve increased the budget request to $1.584 billion.

He said, “I am concerned that the US Senate has decided to turn a blind eye to these predictable disaster needs…Our federal budget is stretched thin and we must confront the deficit. But my common-sense amendment would end up saving taxpayers over the long term and help save lives and property.”

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