Economist: cut federal fire-fighting budget, make local entities pay

Friday, March 25, 2011

A whitepaper (PDF) from Headwaters Economics director Ray Rasker promotes cutting the federal firefighting budget and passing along the costs of fighting those fires to local counties. The USDA Forest Service's firefighting success in the wildland-urban interface (WUI) has encouraged more people to build homes near the forest, in a vicious cycle that increases the costs of protecting those communities, according to the paper. Among its ten suggestions for reducing wildfire suppression costs, the paper suggests redirecting federal aid towards land use planning to help local governments direct future development away from the WUI.