Yikes: Feds already running low on wildfire funds

posted at 9:31 pm on August 21, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

We’re barely in the middle of peak fire season across the United States’ arid west, but once more, the federal government finds itself approaching fiscal crisis-mode trying to cope with the ragingly stubborn problem, via Politico:

Running out of money to fight wildfires at the peak of the season, the U.S. Forest Service is diverting $600 million from timber, recreation and other areas to fill the gap.

The nation’s top wildfire-fighting agency was down to $50 million after spending $967 million so far this year, Forest Service spokesman Larry Chambers said Wednesday in an email.

Chambers says the $50 million the Forest Service has left is typically enough to pay for just a few days of fighting fires when the nation is at its top wildfire preparedness level, which went into effect Tuesday.

There are 51 large uncontained fires burning across the nation, making it tough to meet demands for fire crews and equipment. …

Forest Service Chief Thomas Tidwell sent a letter Aug. 16 to regional foresters and other top officials telling them to come up with the cuts by Friday.

While we’re always fairly certain that we’ll hear plenty from so-called environmentalists about how the increasing infernos across the United States’ more arid landscapes are the result of an uptick in global warming, we’re less likely to hear about how those same environmentalists’ influenced awful land-use policies over the past few decades that have contributed plenty to these blazing hotboxes just waiting to happen.

The Forest Service’s governing policies have certainly improved in recent years (watch this quick video from PERC for some good stuff on effective resource management), the decades of fire suppression, private-use prevention, and top-down bureaucratic inefficiency that created overly dense and dry forests are a big part of what’s landed us in our current situation. If these three senators have their way, we should get some good debate on the expensive and consequence-heavy ongoing issue this fall:

BOISE — Three U.S. senators called for a national commitment to better manage public lands to help prevent catastrophic wildfires Aug. 20 during a visit to the National Interagency Fire Center.

The senators will lead an effort this fall to provide federal agencies better tools to manage the nation’s public lands, a plan that includes more thinning of overgrown forest stands and proper grazing. …

“The fires that are ripping their way through Oregon, Idaho, California and much of the West are proof the federal government’s policy for fire prevention is broken,” said Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore.

The mega-fires that have plagued Western states in recent years are not natural fires, said Wyden, who was joined by Idaho Republican Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch.

“They are infernos that come about as a result of years and years of neglect,” said Wyden, chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. …

The senators’ plan calls for better management of public lands by reducing fuel loads, increasing local decision-making and allowing for more collaborative land management efforts.


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Blame the Sierra Club and other envirowackos. Their zealotry and activism has left a lingering deleterious effect on proper forest management.

Murphy9 on August 21, 2013 at 9:34 PM

Let it burn. I’m so sick of our do-nothing (for anyone but ourselves) government that I don’t even give a hoot anymore. Let it burn. Until we have a real crisis – not these manufactured ones – nothing’s going to change, much less get better.

Wino on August 21, 2013 at 9:35 PM

A billion a year going overseas to countries that are burning, none for ours.

Bruce MacMahon on August 21, 2013 at 9:37 PM

Feds already running low on wildfire funds

…vacation money and campaigning money…is more important!

KOOLAID2 on August 21, 2013 at 9:39 PM

the decades of fire suppression, private-use prevention, and top-down bureaucratic inefficiency that created overly dense and dry forests are a big part of what’s landed us in our current situation.

But…but…but….don’t all the little animals come out each fall and rake up all the dead stuff and mulch it?

GarandFan on August 21, 2013 at 9:39 PM

The Feds are running low on everything, except working on my last damned nerve!

Bmore on August 21, 2013 at 9:39 PM

A billion a year going overseas to countries that are burning, none for ours.

Bruce MacMahon on August 21, 2013 at 9:37 PM

Over a billion to Egypt alone. Probably hundreds of billions overall.

Wino on August 21, 2013 at 9:39 PM

…has to be Booooooshes fault!

KOOLAID2 on August 21, 2013 at 9:40 PM

Blame the Sierra Club and other envirowackos. Their zealotry and activism has left a lingering deleterious effect on proper forest management.

Murphy9 on August 21, 2013 at 9:34 PM

Proper forestry techniques with Vlad. ; )

Bmore on August 21, 2013 at 9:44 PM

Some true global warming would actually help seeing as how we’re headed into a mini ice-age.

txhsmom on August 21, 2013 at 9:45 PM

Proper forestry techniques with Vlad. ; )

Bmore on August 21, 2013 at 9:44 PM

…I thought…he would be holding something else!

KOOLAID2 on August 21, 2013 at 9:47 PM

Bmore on August 21, 2013 at 9:44 PM

Thought of you and Gen Sherman.

bazil9 on August 21, 2013 at 9:48 PM

D*mmitt,again!!!
(sarc)

canopfor on August 21, 2013 at 9:50 PM

Syria’s darkest hour: Hundreds of children’s bodies piled high after nerve gas attack near Damascus leaves up to 1,300 dead

Muzzies are gassing children.

SparkPlug on August 21, 2013 at 9:54 PM

We’re barely in the middle of peak fire season across the United States’ arid west, but once more,
==================================

Tell me about it!
—————–

Latest Detected Fire Activity

Current MODIS Fire Detections
from 8/21/2013, 7 AM MDT
to 8/21/2013, 7 PM MDT
************************

http://activefiremaps.fs.fed.us/current.php?op=table&sensor=modis

Satellite Imagery
*****************

http://activefiremaps.fs.fed.us/imagery.php

HOME
*****
CURRENT LARGE INCIDENTS
AUGUST 21 2013
**************

http://activefiremaps.fs.fed.us/index.php

canopfor on August 21, 2013 at 9:58 PM

How about we divert that Egyptian aid to fighting fires?

Nah, that’d never work.
///

Bitter Clinger on August 21, 2013 at 10:04 PM

There are pines that have cones that only release seeds with heat. Lay there for a decade or two. On the ground, waiting.

They are suppossed to burn. Let them. Build a house of a FL beach? You might get a hurricane. In western pine? You might get burned out.

wolly4321 on August 21, 2013 at 10:09 PM

I smell another round of sequester hand-wringing and Republican-blaming coming on.

JimLennon on August 21, 2013 at 10:10 PM

KOOLAID2 on August 21, 2013 at 9:47 PM

bazil9 on August 21, 2013 at 9:48 PM

: )

Bmore on August 21, 2013 at 10:13 PM

Eco terrorism or Cloward/Piven…or both?

Economic Warfare Institute at American Center for Democracy

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SFHM0rd9cX8&feature=share&fb_source=message

katy on August 21, 2013 at 10:18 PM

I’m trying to make a proper post on Facebook, and I need either a relevant photo or a Hot Air logo for a thumbnail. It used to be that I could count on the Hot Air logo being among the options, so if there was no relevant photo among the options, I could use the logo. Maybe Facebook has switched things around, and in any case, I’m not trying to assign blame. I just need to have the logo somehow made a thumbnail option for all your posts, so I can include a thumbnail with my Facebook posts and make them look good. Help a fan out. Thanks for reading.

Marsili.us on August 21, 2013 at 10:27 PM

Remember just before the sequestration kicked in, and the Forest Service said:

Due to sequestration, we won’t be fighting any forest fires this summer.

?

And under the breath, they said ‘except for ones that threaten solid liberal areas’.

So, I feel fortunate that they HAVE fought some fires.
———————————-

Bmore on August 21, 2013 at 9:44 PM

Good one!

LegendHasIt on August 21, 2013 at 10:30 PM

Eco terrorism or Cloward/Piven…or both?

Economic Warfare Institute at American Center for Democracy

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SFHM0rd9cX8&feature=share&fb_source=message

katy on August 21, 2013 at 10:18 PM

…woah!…glad I came back for that link!

KOOLAID2 on August 21, 2013 at 10:32 PM

America still has lots of free money to give away in foreign aid.

David Blue on August 21, 2013 at 10:40 PM

There are pines that have cones that only release seeds with heat. Lay there for a decade or two. On the ground, waiting.

They are suppossed to burn. Let them. Build a house of a FL beach? You might get a hurricane. In western pine? You might get burned out.

wolly4321 on August 21, 2013 at 10:09 PM

This is a ridiculous argument. Hurricanes are impossible to prevent. Forest fires are largely preventable. I live in Idaho, and I know all about forest fires. When logging companies were allowed to come in and clear out all the dead, diseased and fallen trees, there were fewer fires and they did not become the unmanageable infernos they are these days. Also, the forest service replanted seedlings to replace the trees cleared out, so “seeding” the forest was not a problem. And, to top it off, the forest was much prettier, fewer animals died, we could actually have campfires, and there wasn’t a haze of smoke overhead for miles in all directions. The forests were also cheaper to manage.

Thank you liberals/enviro-whackos for making our forests uglier, killing many forest animals unnecessarily, and costing us tons more money to manage the mess your policies have wrought. Thanks for nothing.

idalily on August 21, 2013 at 11:20 PM

Fiscal year-to-date outlays for the “federal” government have been $2,894,592,000,000, more than France’s entire GDP for 2012.

The year-to-date deficit has been $607,420,000,000, an amount almost equal to Switzerland’s GDP for 2012.

So in a manner of speaking, the “federal” “government” took the entire GDP of Brazil, borrowed the entire GDP of Switzerland, and doesn’t have enough money to put out wildfires.

Apparently, $2,894,592,000,000 is enough to allow the “federal” “government” to keep everyone informed as to what’s burning. So there’s that. http://activefiremaps.fs.fed.us/

The “USDA Forest Service” seems badly named. Let’s go with the “US De-Forest Service” until something funnier comes along.

My favorite fire that $2,894,592,000,000 can’t put out is the one at Incendiary Creek. Hardluck seems aptly named, too.

Marsili.us on August 21, 2013 at 11:31 PM

I’m sure all the funding the Forest Service needs is readily available.

Just take it out of the EPA’s budget. Barely make a dent. Unfortunately.

JEM on August 22, 2013 at 12:56 AM

Just north of us is the number 1 priority fire in the country as of today.
http://missoulian.com/lolo-creek-complex/youtube_741307a2-0ada-11e3-83a4-001a4bcf887a.html

MontanaMmmm on August 22, 2013 at 1:49 AM

We need to reopen forest roads. They are not needed for fire fighting but to clean out dead trees. Letting that lumber just pile up as we have done for over a decade makes fires worse. Selling it to lumber companies would help pay for fire fighting.

Laurence on August 22, 2013 at 6:53 AM

Here is an easy way for the Feds to find the money to fight forest fires. Have the President schedule a vacation to a fire area. There seems to be no end of money for imperial R&R.

bartbeast on August 22, 2013 at 8:24 AM

Yikes: Feds already running low on wildfire funds

No sweat. Redirect the funds from Medicare.

petefrt on August 22, 2013 at 8:29 AM

If they would stop bowing down to the Enviros, and actually “manage” the land through controlled logging and burns, these wildfires would not have the fuel to exist, plus the logging-roads act as firebreaks in slowing any fires that break out due to the usual lightning.
But, as long as you stop doing what was historically successful, and continue to do what is environmentally stylish, the wildfires will continue to devastate the land, property within it, and the lives that attempt to control them.
“What ye shall sow so shall ye reap!”

Another Drew on August 22, 2013 at 12:48 PM