The Wildfire Disaster Funding Act
One of the most significant pieces of legislation I’ve authored this Congress is a bill to fix the way we currently budget for wildfire suppression by treating catastrophic wildfires like other natural disasters. Currently, agencies like the Forest Service must borrow from non-fire accounts when fire suppression costs exceed the budget. “Fire borrowing” was intended to be an extraordinary measure, but as fire seasons have grown more destructive it has become common practice—and has created a devastating cycle that prevents agencies from doing needed hazardous fuels removal or timber harvests, leading to worse fires.
Many Idahoans, including myself, have called for better management of our forests, but until we reform the way we budget for wildfires, none of the actions we advocate—including thinning, timber harvesting, and active management—can consistently take place. My bill, H.R. 167, the Wildfire Disaster Funding Act, would end the disruptive practice of fire borrowing and ensure that the way we budget for fires makes sense. As a result, we will be able to provide adequate funding for both wildfire suppression and land management practices that help to reduce the impacts of catastrophic wildfires in the future.
This bill has received national attention and strong bipartisan support, with 140 cosponsors in the 113th Congress from both sides of the aisle and a coalition of over 240 organizations lending it support. Below I have provided links to information about H.R. 167, including more details about the bill, answers to FAQs, bill text, and a list of supporting organizations. Passing this legislation will have a significant and long-term impact on both our public lands and on our budget.
Dear Colleague letter, sent on introduction of H.R. 167 (1-7-15)
FAQs about the Wildfire Disaster Funding Act
Report from the U.S. Forest Service about the impacts of fire borrowing
Supporting Organizations (7-16-14) --- Letter of Support
136 Cosponsors (September 18th)
Letter from Congressional Budget Office determining no cost