Finance

Federal Budget to Fight Wildfires is Depleted

For the second straight year, the federal government has run through its budget for fighting wildfires amid a grueling, deadly season and will be forced to move $600 million from other funds, some of which help prevent fires.
August 23, 2013

For the second straight year, the federal government has run through its budget for fighting wildfires amid a grueling, deadly season and will be forced to move $600 million from other funds, some of which help prevent fires.

This year’s budget depletion reflects the new normal in firefighting, where parched seasons last at least two months longer than in previous decades and wildfires burn bigger and hotter, according to the U.S. Forest Service and conservationists who track fires.

Compared with other fire seasons in the past decade, that is mild. Last year produced the

second-worst season on record: 67,700 fires burned 9.3 million acres, according to the National Interagency Fire Center. In 2006, more than 96,300 fires burned 9.8 million acres.

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