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Maura Bennett Wildfire Costs Exceed 2 Billion
by Maura Bennett, click here for bio

Program: Colorado Ag Today
Date: September 20, 2017

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US Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said he was concerned that cost of this year’s wildfires could reach 2-billion dollars. His worst fears were exceeded.

He has announced that wildland fire suppression costs for the fiscal year have exceeded $2 billion, making 2017 the most expensive year on record.

As the Forest Service passed the $2 billion milestone, Perdue renewed his call to Congress to fix the way the agency’s fire suppression efforts are funded. During the swearing in ceremony of new Forest Service Chief Tony Took early this month he said this.

‘I believe we have the right leadership, I believe we have the right people. I believe we have the right processes and the right procedures of attacking and fighting fires but if you don’t have the resources and the means of dependable funding, that’s an issue. Every year when the Forest Service has to hoard our appropriated dollars in order to have the funding to fight the fires where we know it’s going to be insufficient, that’s wrong. We need with all of our heart, strength and mind to appeal to Congress to fix the fire borrowing problem once and for all.”

Wildfires have ravaged states in the west, Pacific Northwest, and Northern Rockies regions of the United States this summer.

Perdue wants Congress to treat major fires the same as other disasters that can be covered by emergency funds so that prevention programs are not raided.

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