"Debt Standoff Makes Forest Agency Fight All Fires"

"The FLAME Act of 2009 was supposed to ensure the Forest Service had enough money to fight fires without having to cut into programs to provide recreation, protect habitat and improve forest health. But after Congress raided the fund established by the law during the 2011 standoff over the debt ceiling, and after further cuts this year, the fund is empty."

"That has the agency preparing to make cuts elsewhere as the fire season is hitting its peak in Idaho and just beginning in California.

The agency that manages 193 million acres nationwide and 20 million acres in Idaho foresaw the shortfall coming in May. It quietly ordered managers to fight every fire as soon as it starts, which it says goes against its own science and goals. It also required regional foresters to approve 'any suppression strategy that includes restoration objectives,' wrote James Hubbard, Forest Service deputy chief for state and private forestry, in a May 25 memo."

Rocky Barker reports for the Idaho Statesman August 22, 2012.

SEE ALSO:

"California Governor Declares Wildfire Emergency" (Environment News Service)

"Costs Of Big Wildfire Season Hurting Some States" (Associated Press)

Source: Idaho Statesman, 08/23/2012