This week NASF joined a broad coalition of more than 90 organizations in seeking immediate action from Congress to address both the short and long-term impacts of ongoing fire transfers at the USDA Forest Service. As we reported last week, the Forest Service has begun the process of transferring $600 million from non-fire programs within the Agency to cover the growing cost of fighting wildfires this summer. These transfers are having negative impacts on a wide range of programs and forests all the way from our National Forests to the privately owned forests and woodlands across the country. Funds that should be used to manage forests, and thereby reduce long-term fire danger, are instead being redirected towards fire suppression expenses. NASF and Coalition members are urging Congress to work quickly to provide an emergency supplemental to reimburse the non-fire programs impacted by the transfer and to take action to find a long-term solution to this persistent problem of fire transfers by providing the Forest Service with an emergency wildfire funding structure that will finally put an end to fire transfers.
"With suppression inadequately funded, it's not a surprise that we're in a transfer situation once again, but these transfers add insult to injury," said National Association of State Foresters President and West Virginia State Forester Randy Dye. "States are still dealing with the impacts from last year's transfers and now another round will further disrupt state forestry work and harm those important partnerships cultivated when developing forest projects."