President Donald Trump’s proposed budget for wildfire funding was front and center during a hearing Thursday in Washington, D.C.. Northwest leaders are not only questioning possible cuts, they’re also looking for different ways to get ahead during fire season.
Sen. Maria Cantwell, the ranking member on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, told Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell her Washington state constituents have been saying wildfire prevention needs to be a priority.
“Quote: ‘The science says that we should be focusing our nation’s attention on funding and getting ahead of the fire problem,’ end quote,” Cantwell said.
The budget proposal calls for more than $350 million in cuts to firefighting and prevention. It’s also based on a 10-year average of wildfire costs—a number Tidwell said continues to increase.
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown believes firefighting and suppression dollars shouldn’t come from the proposed budget at all.
“You start reducing the dollars that the Forest Service has and frankly the Department of Forestry to do treatment, resiliency, forest health—it’s penny wise and pound foolish.” she said.
Brown said a specific emergency pot fund could save money for improved forest management and health in the Northwest.