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Wildfire funding bill will keep conservation from getting burned


Mills Canyon Fire in Washington. Flickr:USDA.govMills Canyon Fire in Washington. Flickr:USDA.gov
Wildfire season is in full swing and states across the West are starting to feel the burn. From the over 20,000 acre Mills Canyon fire in Washington to a wildfire in a remote Wilderness Area in the Sequoia National Forest in California, sparks are starting to fly.
 
These fires have a dramatic impact on wildlife and outdoor recreational enthusiasts. Fires led to campground closures in Wyoming and evacuations in California. Governors in Oregon and Washington declared
states of emergency this week. As wildfire seasons become longer and more intense because of climate change, these impacts will become more common.
 
Wildfire season is in full swing and states across the West are starting to feel the burn. From the over 20,000 acre Mills Canyon fire in Washington to a wildfire in a remote Wilderness Area in the Sequoia National Forest in California, sparks are starting to fly. These fires have a dramatic impact on wildlife and outdoor recreational enthusiasts. Fires led to campground closures in Wyoming and evacuations in California. Governors in Oregon and Washington declared states of emergency this week. As wildfire seasons become longer and more intense because of climate change, these impacts will become more common.
 
When wildfires break out, the U.S. Forest Service, Department of the Interior, and state forestry agencies spring into action. Fighting catastrophic fires takes major resources and these activities burn through agency budgets, leaving no choice but to cut other important programs. There are several competing proposals in Congress for how to fund wildfire suppression while making sure we can continue to restore and manage our forests. 
 
The Wildfire Disaster Funding Act proposes a commonsense reform to fund the responses to the largest wildfires the same as other natural disasters, but some in Congress are using wildfires as an excuse to try and open extensive amounts of National Forests to massive increases in logging.
 
 
About the Author
Frank Sturges

Frank Sturges serves as Public Lands Policy Fellow at the National Wildlife Federation in Washington, DC. He is currently pursuing a Master’s of Science in Natural Resources and Environment and a Master’s of Public Policy at the University of Michigan. Originally from Charlotte, N.C., Frank's favorite outdoor activity is portaging a canoe.

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