Interior would like a bigger firefighting budget because — you guessed it — climate change

posted at 6:51 pm on May 2, 2014 by Erika Johnsen

I feel like I am taking crazy pills.

If the Department of Interior really needs more money for their firefighting budget, fine. I totally get that. There is no denying that we have seem some absolutely devastating wildfires consuming ever-bigger swaths of the arid West in the past few years, and it is obviously better to be prepared than to get caught with your trousers around your ankles — but can we please, please, please be honest about the real reasons why Interior really needs that extra cash, courtesy of us, the taxpayers?

The Department of Interior and the U.S. Forest Service expect to spend $1.8 billion to fight wildfires this season, $470 million more than Congress provided, the agencies said Thursday, blaming climate change for the increased costs.

The agencies said climate change is causing longer and more intense wildfire seasons.

“While our agencies will spend the necessary resources to protect people, homes and our forests, the high levels of wildfire this report predicts would force us to borrow funds from forest restoration, recreation and other areas,” Robert Bonnie, the Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) under secretary for natural resources and environment, said in a statement. The Forest Service is part of the USDA.

The cost prediction is the highest since a 2009 law took effect requiring three wildfire forecasts each year, the USDA and Interior said. The extreme drought in California, as well as other factors, will make the fires particularly dangerous this year.

In the name of all that is holy, stop using the weather as an all-purpose excuse for every single one of your self-administered problems. At best, warming temperatures may be a contributing factor in worsening the West’s historically parched summertime conditions, but for these guys, climate change is really just a convenient excuse for covering the Department of Interior’s utter failure to exercise smart land-use policies within the third of the surface area of the United States the federal government insisted on bringing under its ownership/stewardship throughout the 20th century.

Warming temperatures, these bureaucrats like to claim, are causing winter snows to melt and rain to evaporate more quickly, so droughts are getting worse and the fire season is getting longer — all of which completely glosses over the way the federal government caved to eco-radicals for decades and suppressed logging and grazing activities in a misbegotten attempt to protect whatever endangered sage grouse was in vogue at the moment. The Forest Service has improved and innovated on some of their policies in the past decade-ish, but we are now reaping the results of the previous decades of untended forests that subsequently got overly dense, overly dry, and are sittin’ pretty, ready to blow.

I can maybe understand why eco-radicals (mistakenly) think that free markets aren’t the best resource manager when it comes to environmental stewardship, but why on earth do they think that putting the landscape at the mercy of the inefficiencies of top-down bureaucratic control (and hence whatever political lobby happens to be most powerful at the moment) is any better? It’s a recipe for disaster, and maybe I’m beating a dead horse here, but the Obama administration and its eco-radical supporters cannot be allowed to act as if the federal government is the virtuous, efficient savior of all things green, when in reality, the federal government directly created a lot of this problem in the first place.

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More likely to hire more park thugs to shut out vets and tourists the next time Obama wants to close down the national parks and monuments again.

de rigueur on May 2, 2014 at 6:55 PM

Or to get those stinkin’ cowboys off BLM’s lawn.

de rigueur on May 2, 2014 at 6:56 PM

At what point will there be a Government fire sale?

Bmore on May 2, 2014 at 6:56 PM

maybe I’m beating a dead horse

Zombie PETA is going to come after you.

rbj on May 2, 2014 at 6:57 PM

They can’t stop tornadoes duh….

sorrowen on May 2, 2014 at 7:05 PM

Actually my guess was Frank Stallone.

Gingotts on May 2, 2014 at 7:05 PM

The Pathological Liar who is Criminal in Chief is turning the whole federal government into a crime syndicate.

VorDaj on May 2, 2014 at 7:07 PM

All that evaporated water on the west coast while the east coast is flooding everywhere.

Why, it’s almost as if the ecofreaks want to blame EVERYTHING on global warming.

Bishop on May 2, 2014 at 7:07 PM

But rising sea levels…

Ronnie on May 2, 2014 at 7:07 PM

Violent tornadoes check,flooding check,drought check…must be climate change…nope it’s called the seasons.

sorrowen on May 2, 2014 at 7:09 PM

First I would like to know how many MRAPs and how many hollow points they’ve already accumulated, and how many more they’re asking for…

bofh on May 2, 2014 at 7:16 PM

A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly.

But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men.

He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist.

A murderer is less to fear. The traitor is the plague. –Cicero

opunmind on May 2, 2014 at 7:17 PM

Warming temperatures, these bureaucrats like to claim, are causing winter snows to melt and rain to evaporate more quickly, so droughts are getting worse and the fire season is getting longer — all of which completely glosses over the way the federal government caved to eco-radicals for decades and suppressed logging and grazing activities in a misbegotten attempt to protect whatever endangered sage grouse was in vogue at the moment.

They seem to forget that roads used by logging trucks also form a natural barrier to the spread of fires, while allowing firefighters easier access to difficult terrain. Without the roads, firefighters have to bushwhack or be helicoptered in.

Then there’s the problem of FODS (Friends of Delta Smelts) who force water to flow out to sea, when it could be captured by dams for use as firefighting water in the dry season. Or, if there aren’t many fires, could be used to grow tomatoes and strawberries.

But if the sage grouse is no longer endangered, Interior needs something else to grouse about.

Steve Z on May 2, 2014 at 7:17 PM

I know anecdote doesn’t equal data, but back in 2008 our land (we don’t live there, it’s a getaway place) burned in the Trigo Fire

We were on vacation at the time but I kept in touch with a good friend who lives in the area & is politically active. She told me that the local firefighters weren’t allowed to help fight the fire as long as it was on federal land, they were only allowed in when it hit private or state land.

I sent an email to the Gov’s office (Yay, Susanna!) urging her to join with other western governors in taking back our land from the feds. We know how to manage our forests better than some bureaucrat in D.C. who’s never even been out West.

Frantic Freddie on May 2, 2014 at 7:23 PM

And don’t forget that due to the enviro-whackos, decades of undergrowth is an explosive fuel that could be managed by the forbidden controlled burn.

They need more firefighting funds because their policies cause more intense and destructive and hard to control fires.

BacaDog on May 2, 2014 at 7:34 PM

When you are onto a good scam … milk it.

OldEnglish on May 2, 2014 at 7:48 PM

By no means am I anthropomorphic global warming believer but here in California we have had some dry weather.

There will always be weather fluctuations. I wish some politician out here would push for more dam water storage instead windmills and solar panels. (like that will ever happen in the Republic of Kalifornia)

A nice side benefit to increased water storage can be hydro electric dams which is still the cleanest reliable energy source. Because that will effect a poor fish, that will never happen.

maddmatt on May 2, 2014 at 7:53 PM

They are also building a new 1 million barrel gas reserve in NY Harbor. Why? Climate change.

CTSherman on May 2, 2014 at 8:07 PM

Because the BLM is doing such a great job.

oldennis on May 2, 2014 at 8:16 PM

…aren’t most of the fires in California?…can we take money away?

KOOLAID2 on May 2, 2014 at 8:23 PM

Global Warming – is there anything it can’t do?

whatcat on May 2, 2014 at 8:56 PM

The best thing doi can do to no longer worry about fire-fighting costs, give up the land as the feds have no constitutional claim to the land.

TQM38a on May 2, 2014 at 8:58 PM

Global warming is the new doughnut.

Murphy9 on May 2, 2014 at 9:10 PM

You don’t trust the government that brought us Obamacare and to do something competent? What’s wrong with you?

talkingpoints on May 2, 2014 at 9:23 PM

What’s the point…the planet has a fever!

trs on May 2, 2014 at 9:28 PM

but they’ll settle for an extra 250 million bucks and 50 million rounds of 9mm hollowpoints. And a few armored personnel carriers, and, oh yeah, elite sniper training for 300 of their staff.

WryTrvllr on May 2, 2014 at 9:57 PM

Global Warming, eh? I was gonna pin it all on George Bush.

307wolverine on May 2, 2014 at 9:58 PM

How much ammunition are they demanding should they need to teach the Serfs a lesson?

viking01 on May 2, 2014 at 10:17 PM

I’m sure they’ll need more M-4s and HP ammo to solve the issue.

Ahh, I see y’all are ahead of me. DTOM!

Who is John Galt on May 2, 2014 at 10:49 PM

Who is John Galt on May 2, 2014 at 10:49 PM

Man, doesn’t it seem like we’re right on the edge of it all blowing up? Terrorists everywhere, Foriegn and Domestic according to the Gov’t, regular Americans getting shafted everywhere?

The totality of D.C.’s interventions seem to be adding up to the famous “1000 cuts”.

Who is John Galt on May 2, 2014 at 10:57 PM

The increased wildfires on federal lands has little to do with drought and NOTHING to do with “climate change,” it is mainly because the normal firebreaks created by logging no longer exist.

The way modern “clear cutting” is done is to clear cut an area in a checkerboard fashion, leaving some areas untouched like the dark squares. This not only retards the spread of wildfires, it promotes wildlife by providing a varied habitat. Ironically, the early curtailing of logging in national forests was done on the behalf of the spotted owl, which turned out not to be endangered, it just can’t live in those “virgin forests,” and had migrated to Northern California areas where logging was allowed. Owls feed on the small mammals that proliferate on cleared forest land.

Of course, that would also generate money for taxpayers to offset the costs of the Forestry Service, as well and reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires. But it would make the greenies sad, so we don’t do it anymore.

Adjoran on May 2, 2014 at 11:24 PM

Adjoran on May 2, 2014 at 11:24 PM

I dunno if this is still true, probably, cedar and all, but that fire in ’86 left a gazillion dead trees (now well seasoned) lying around, pretty much EVERYWHERE! The rangers were begging people to collect wood (for camp fires) rather than buy it.

Next fire in THAT park will burn for months.

WryTrvllr on May 3, 2014 at 12:00 AM


If govt policy/ procedure isn’t addressed in the Constitution — a la Land/ Resource mgmt — best for the chiefs of the multi-numerous bureaucrats to consult Knowledgeable Experts with long-time Proven experience for Best Practises, such as natives. Some traditions are well-founded, especially following years of work and clear-headed observation of the results which yield Better actions for Better results. In other words perhaps, Act onValid information rather than politically expedient quasi-solutions.

Too much government, too little common sense. Too much government, too lttle accountability.

KissMyAmericanFlag on May 3, 2014 at 1:00 AM

When the Forest Service wanted to cut roads the EPA forbid them. It’s decisions like this that cuff the hands of the firefighters. The enemy is fire and the wrong agency is making the rules.

mixplix on May 3, 2014 at 4:26 AM

Forest fires are made worse by the fact that we do not clear standing dead wood. We cannot clear standing dead wood because the Forest Service has closed forest roads. These roads are not used for fighting forest but would allow some logging and recreation. Reopening these roads would allow for the sale of dead wood thereby lessening the intensity of the next forest fire and provide additional funds for the Forest Service.

Use what you have before asking for more.

Laurence on May 3, 2014 at 7:02 AM

At this point, is there anything that global warming hasn’t been blamed for?

Didn’t someone even try to link domestic violence to AGW?

jmtham156 on May 3, 2014 at 7:15 AM

I guess I’ll be a true believer when everyone starts asking for a smaller budget due to climate change.

Catahoula on May 3, 2014 at 7:24 AM

Let them burn: it is part of the natural process for clearing out older vegetation and some vegetation REQUIRES burning to have their seed pods open. The more you stop the process the less biodiversity you get.

And if you build your home in an area where this is part of the cycle, may I suggest fire insurance? Plus a firebreak around your home? A good evacuation route is handy, too.

The lesson of Yellowstone in the ’80s was one of just letting nature take its course. Those burnt out areas were soon sprouting vegetation and wildflowers and in 5 years it was hard to tell if a fire had actually been through the areas hit by them. Spend time protecting critical infrastructure and let nature do its thing outside of those very few man-made structures.

ajacksonian on May 3, 2014 at 7:28 AM

Can we PLEASE stop lending credibility to the Marxist Enviro-psycho’s vernacular by using the term “climate change”? They have successfully moved drone and skeptic alike, away from the original term “global warming”.

If the most expensive and invasive global fraud of all time began as “global warming”, it should stay “global warming”.

When Real Americans allow the Envrio-psychos to control the marketing and labeling of whichever economy crushing plan they have decided to pimp out to the wider public, WE LOSE!!

acetylene420 on May 3, 2014 at 8:41 AM

Let me make a suggestion. Everyone’s budget especially HHS and the IRS is reduced. Reduced significantly. If your budget is reduced less we will refer to it as an increase. FIFY Everybody happy?

scboy on May 3, 2014 at 9:16 AM

Here is some more peculiar logic:

Let’s cut down the forests – less forests less forest fires.

mjbrooks3 on May 3, 2014 at 9:56 AM

Meh. Fire is warm, so as stupid as this sounds, it’s actually more reasonable than most of what they’ve been saying lately.

RINO in Name Only on May 3, 2014 at 1:02 PM

Meh. Fire is warm, so as stupid as this sounds, it’s actually more reasonable than most of what they’ve been saying lately.

RINO in Name Only on May 3, 2014 at 1:02 PM

I hasten to emphasize that we are grading on a rather steep curve here.

RINO in Name Only on May 3, 2014 at 1:05 PM

It’s all our fault.

Akzed on May 3, 2014 at 1:06 PM

As part of Smokey Bear PSA commercials they state that 9 out 10 wildfires are caused by humans. So, how does a “warming climate” play into this if 90% of all wildfires are caused by humans in the first place?

Kokonut on May 3, 2014 at 2:10 PM