Feds Spends Less And Less On Fire Prevention As Wildfires Rage On

"COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- As the West battles one catastrophic wildfire after another, the federal government is spending less and less on its main program for preventing blazes in the first place."

"A combination of government austerity and the ballooning cost of battling the ruinous fires has taken a bite out of federal efforts to remove the dead trees and flammable underbrush that clog Western forests. The U.S. Forest Service says that next year it expects to treat 1 million fewer acres than it did last year.

In real, inflation-adjusted dollars, the government is spending less on the Hazardous Fuels Reduction Program, run jointly by the Forest Service and the Interior Department, than it did in 2002. And President Barack Obama has proposed a 31 percent cut for the fiscal year that begins in the fall."

Nicholas Riccardi and Mead Gruver report for the Associated Press June 19, 2013.

Source: AP, 06/20/2013