Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., is renewing his call for action on his Wildfire Disaster Funding Act after a U.S. Department of Agriculture report projected that fighting fires in 2014 will exceed available funding by about $470 million.
The report, released by the USDA’s Forest Service and Department of Interior, stated that while fighting fires in the 2014 wildfire season is projected to cost $1.8 billion, there is only $1.4 billion in funding.
The Wildfire Disaster Funding Act, cosponsored by Bennet, would allow the U.S. Forest Service and Department of Interior to use emergency funds separate from their discretionary budgets to fight fires, according to a news release from Bennet’s office.
This would, in essence, fund wildfire response similarly to the way response efforts for hurricanes, floods, and tornadoes are funded. It would allow the Forest Service to draw from an “off-budget” account whenever costs hit a certain threshold.