Fighting wildfires is becoming more and more expensive

❝ Just six months after the devastating Thomas Fire – the largest blaze in California’s history – was fully contained, the 2018 fire season is well under way. As of mid-July, large wildfires had already burned over 1 million acres in a dozen states. Through October, the National Interagency Fire Center predicts above-average wildfire activity in many regions, including the Northwest, Interior West and California.

Rising fire suppression costs over the past three decades have nearly destroyed the U.S. Forest Service’s budget. Overall funding for the agency, which does most federal firefighting, has been flat for decades, while fire suppression costs have grown dramatically.

❝ Earlier this year Congress passed a “fire funding fix” that changes the way in which the federal government will pay for large fires during expensive fire seasons. This is vital for helping to restore the Forest Service budget. But the funding fix doesn’t affect the factors that drive costs, such as climate trends and more people living in fire prone landscapes…

Why are costs increasing so dramatically? Many factors have come together to create a perfect storm. Climate change, past forest and fire management practices, housing development, increased focus on community protection and the professionalization of wildfire management are all driving up costs.

What can we expect as a response from a Congress that as presently constituted answers mostly to a base that wants fewer costs, no taxes and, of course, no responsibility for any environment?

14 thoughts on “Fighting wildfires is becoming more and more expensive

  1. Cassandra says:

    “Tornadic Firestorm? Carr Fire spawns tornado-like rotation, damage patterns (July 27, 2018, 5:11 PM) The massive Carr Fire in and around Redding, California has now torched more than 40,000 acres. Temperatures reached 115 degrees in the fire zone Thursday, and the fire blew up generating giant pyrocumulus clouds (flammagenitus) visible from space on weather satellites orbiting 22-thousand miles above the earth.” (includes videos, radar record and a 3D plume visualization)
    See also Wildfire-climate change connection chart×474.jpg
    (Tokyo, 1923) After the earthquake “five independent whirlwind firestorms erupted across Tokyo and burned everything in their path. One individual who witnessed an approaching firestorm, Koizumi Tomi, described it as “an enormous wall of fire . . . like a tidal wave as if released from Hell itself” which “turned the air as hot as melting rock.” Of the roughly 120,000 people who perished, a majority died as a result of fire. At the 6.7 hectare site of what was once a large production and storage facility over 35,000 peopled burned to death as a result of a whirlwind firestorm that enveloped that area on the night of 1-2 September.”

  2. Hazel says:

    Catastrophic wildfires continue to ravage California, as one blaze nearly doubled in size over the weekend to make it the fourth largest in the state’s history. More than 14,000 firefighters are battling 17 major wildfires across California. Fire crews from Australia and New Zealand are coming to the state to help.
    Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump [3:06 PM – 5 Aug 2018] “California wildfires are being magnified & made so much worse by the bad environmental laws which aren’t allowing massive amount of readily available water to be properly utilized. It is being diverted into the Pacific Ocean. Must also tree clear to stop fire spreading!”

  3. Mike says:

    California fire explodes in size, is now largest in state history On Monday, another fast-moving fire ignited in the state — this time in Orange County, where firefighters battled the Holy Fire that expanded to more than 4,000 acres.
    Meanwhile: “Scientists mock Trump’s tweet on wildfires as ‘comedically ill-informed’ and ‘unmitigated crap’ : Trump’s climate denial is “a crime against the planet” warns climatologist.”

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