NASF calls Congress to action on wildfire funding, federal forest management

Nation’s top state forester calls on congressional leadership to take action on a wildfire funding fix and federal forest management reform.

WASHINGTON—In a letter to Senate and House leadership today, the president of the National Association of State Foresters asked that Congress: (1) address funding for wildfire suppression, which is now subsuming most of the USDA Forest Service budget, and (2) allow for more active and effective management of America’s wildfire, insect, and disease prone federal forests.

“Catastrophic wildfires have Americans nationwide looking to their congressional leaders for relief,” said George Geissler, who is also the state forester for Oklahoma. “We, the nation’s state foresters, implore you to seize this opportunity to do right by citizens across America and enact a fix for wildfire funding and federal forest management reform.”

In his letter, Geissler reminded Senators Mitch McConnell and Charles Schumer, as well as their counterparts in the House, Representatives Paul Ryan and Nancy Pelosi, that in 2017 almost ten million acres were burned by wildfires nationwide—and it cost the federal government $2.9 billion.

“Three decades ago, wildfire suppression was one-sixth of the agency budget. It is now over 50 percent and approaching two-thirds of the agency budget,” the letter reads. “If federal forest reforms which promote more active management are not enacted, the deleterious impacts on state and private forests and surrounding communities will accelerate… Wildfire, insects and disease know no boundaries.”

“Some of the most effective measures which have been proposed to encourage more active management of federal forests have bipartisan support. Please use this opportunity when the American people are focused and united in a desire to address these challenges—to pass legislation which current and future generations of Americans will so appreciate.”

To learn more about NASF’s position on a wildfire funding fix, click here to visit our website.

Media Contact: Whitney Forman-Cook at wforman-cook@stateforesters.org or 202-624-5417.


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