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Fire Funding

GAO Report Blasts Wildfire Fighting Budget Effort

The report, commissioned by Wyden, Craig and other members of Congress, identifies problems created by the practice of transferring funding from one project to another within agencies when those agencies have insufficient budgets for fighting wildfires.

For the last two years, federal agencies charged with preventing wildfires have been forced to borrow funds from other, unrelated projects to pay for firefighting. This shell game leaves vital fire prevention projects – such as hazardous fuels reduction and watershed restoration - underfunded and undone, which contributes to continuing fire dangers.

... The report cites that neither the Forest Service nor the Department of the Interior have adequate data or tracking mechanisms for the effect of continued interagency borrowing for fire fighting. It also recommends setting aside off-budget funding specifically for emergency purposes, either in agency-specific accounts or in a government-wide account.

The full report is here. I may have more comments in the morning. Unfortunately, I'm not surprised to hear that the Forest Service and Interior have poor data on their own operations.


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