Congress needs to act now to pass a wildfire funding solution. Deadly U.S. megafires are growing hotter, lasting longer and burning more land due to climate change and other human causes.
In fact, 2017 was the costliest fire season ever, at $2.6 billion.
More and more homes are at risk, along with more of the special natural places that all of us hold dear. One major wildfire that burned the Sierra Nevadas for more than a year raged into Yosemite National Park.
Though wildfires continue to grow more dangerous, federal budgets aren't keeping up. The U.S. Forest Service has run out of the funds it needs to fight fires 13 times since 2002. And as more resources are eaten up fighting wildfires, the agency has been forced to make devastating cuts to almost all non-fire programs—preventing them from properly caring for America's forests that benefit people, water and wildlife.
Some of the programs facing cuts help make forests healthier, which would reduce the risk of these fires. It doesn't make sense to pay more to fight megafires at the expense of preventing them in the first place.
Bipartisan legislation would update the budget process, treating wildfires like other disasters and freeing up funds for other vital conservation efforts. Congress should act to include this in an upcoming funding bill, so we need your help now. It's up to all of us to help save our critical lands and make sure this bill passes.
Tell Congress today: We need you to protect our forests and parks. Fix the wildfire funding problem at once!
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Fix the wildfire funding problem
As wildfires grow hotter and larger, Congress must lead the way to preserve our national parks and forests, along with our homes, from disaster. That's why I am asking you to support a comprehensive wildfire funding fix like the Wildfire Disaster Funding Act (H.R. 2862 and S. 1842) or section 102 of S. 1571 in the Senate. These proposals are supported by broad, bipartisan organizations, including conservation, timber, tribal, recreation, sportsmen and employer groups. A comprehensive fire fix would change how the federal government budgets for wildfire suppression, bringing the process in line with the way other disasters are funded. A comprehensive solution includes: 1) addressing the continued erosion of agency budgets that results from increasing suppression costs; 2) accessing disaster funding for extraordinarily costly fires; and 3) significantly reducing the need to "borrow" from non-suppression budget accounts and programs. You have an opportunity to act now by including this solution in an upcoming disaster relief package. I'm asking you to support that effort.Protecting American homes, lands, and wildlife from catastrophic fires grows more important with every passing fire season. Please fix the wildfire funding problem before the next major fire strikes!