Bipartisan wildfire funding bill introduced in Senate

Wildfire Disaster Funding Act of 2015 would end transfers of cash from land management programs to fund wildfire suppression activities. 

WASHINGTON—Senators Wyden (D-OR) and Crapo (R-ID) have introduced the Wildfire Disaster Funding Act of 2015 (S. 235) with support from a bi-partisan group of their Senate colleagues including Senators Risch (R-ID), Baldwin (D-WI), Gardner (R-CO), Bennet (D-CO), Daines (R-MT) and Cantwell (D-WA).

Introduced on January 22, the bill would change how the federal government budgets for wildland fire suppression to eliminate the need to transfer funds from critical forest conservation, management and fuel reduction programs.

“State foresters continue to support the approach proposed in the Wildfire Disaster Funding Act and applaud the leadership of Senator Ron Wyden and Senator Mike Crapo. It’s always wildfire season somewhere in the United States, and this bill would make critically needed changes to how America pays for fire suppression,” said Jim Karels, Florida State Forester and President of the National Association of State Foresters.

NASF’s members urge Congress to adopt this legislation to end transfers from forest conservation and management programs in order to pay for fire suppression. This fix will enable federal agencies to continue to deliver on their missions to help sustainably manage America’s forests, both public and private.

Wildfire control, prevention, protection and management costs totaled $1.8 billion in 2012 according to NASF’s latest state forestry agency survey.

This bipartisan bill is supported by a broad coalition of timber, tribal, conservation, recreation, sportsmen and employer groups.

Contact: Amanda Cooke at acooke@stateforesters.org and 202-624-5417