Wildfire Suppression: Change in Funding on the Horizon

Great news coming out of Washington, D.C.! We have been watching this bi-partisan legislation, supported by Colorado Senators Bennett and Gardner, to change the way wildfires are funded and to stop “fire borrowing” and are hopeful that this will pass. Fire borrowing is a budgetary practice that occurs when federal agencies divert funds from forest health and fire prevention programs to fight wildfires.

See local coverage from KOAA here.

See the post from the Outdoor Industry Association below for more information.

Congress Adds Wildfire Funding Fix to Omnibus Spending Bill

By The Outdoor Industry Association

March 21, 2018, Washington, D.C.

After years of working to update the U.S. government’s antiquated funding process for wildfire suppression, OIA is pleased that Congress has added a bipartisan and pragmatic solution to the must-pass $1.3 trillion omnibus spending package today.

We applaud Congress for listening to the outdoor recreation industry and including a wildfire funding fix in the omnibus today. We want to thank the Wildfire Disaster Funding Act’s champions, including Reps. Simpson (R-ID), Schrader (D-OR), McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Calvert (R-CA) and Sens. Tester (D-MT), Schumer (D-NY), Crapo (R-ID), Risch (R-ID) and Daines (R-MT), for their work getting this fix across the finish line.

Over the past five years, OIA, along with a broad coalition of conservation and sportsmen’s organizations, the forestry industry and the agriculture community, have pushed Congress to fund wildfire suppression similar to other natural disasters and not pilfer unrelated recreation, conservation, mitigation and other accounts.

This action finally dedicates appropriate funding for wildfire mitigation and forest management and allows dollars appropriated for recreation programs, maintenance and infrastructure to stay in those accounts.

“OIA thanks the outdoor industry for its tireless efforts to educate Congress on the importance of fixing wildfire funding, and we thank Congress for getting it done in this omnibus package,” said Amy Roberts, executive director of OIA. “By stopping the practice of borrowing money, Congress has assured communities and businesses, particularly in the West, that recreation, conservation and other public land funding accounts won’t get siphoned when wildfires strike and that the necessary resources will be there when firefighting season begins in earnest.”

Congress will vote on the omnibus spending package this Friday. If passed, this pragmatic wildfire funding solution will become law. Thank you for your years of engagement, and congratulations!