Forest Service Breaks Bank Fighting Fires

A new report from the US Department of Agriculture’s Inspector General shows the US Forest Service is spending too much money fighting fires. It suggests the feds get some help paying the bills from state governments. Mark Brodie reports:

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A new report from the US Department of Agriculture’s Inspector General shows the US Forest Service is spending too much money fighting fires. It suggests the feds get some help paying the bills from state governments. Mark Brodie reports:


The Inspector General report says the Forest Service went over budget four times in the last six years, spending more than a billion dollars in each of those years.


The service blames the cost increase in part on housing developments. They say more homes are being built farther into the forest.


Tom Harbour is the Forest Service’s Fire Chief.


“All of us treat protection of life as our certain first priority, and then treat the protection of communities and values on public lands as our second, and you bet it does make things more difficult.”


But some state foresters say the real difficulty comes from issues like changes in the weather and too much fire fuel on federal land. They say downed trees and excess brush make it difficult for the forest service to contain fires.


Both sides say they’ll bargain hard when it comes time to pay the bill for fighting fires.


For The Environment Report, I’m Mark Brodie.

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