"US Shuffles Budget as Wildfire Costs Climb"

As wildfires rage across the West, the costs of the fight to protect lives and property are up. But budget cuts imposed by an austerity-minded Congress have meant that funds to protect people are down.

"PORTLAND, Ore. -- It’s costing Oregon $70 million to fight wildfires this summer, compared to the $3 to $7 million for an average summer.

The two largest wildfires in southern Oregon — the Big Windy and Douglas Complex fires — are responsible for almost $60 million of that total. Those costs have mounted as more than 1,000 fire-related personnel have responded to each lightning-caused fire. ...

The cost of Oregon’s firefighting efforts are being calculated on the same day as the U.S. Forest Service announced it’s diverting $600 million from timber, recreation and other areas to fill the nation’s fire-fighting gap.

The nation’s top wildfire-fighting agency was down to $50 million after spending $967 million so far this year, Forest Service spokesman Larry Chambers said Wednesday in an email to the Associated Press."

Portland's KOIN 6 staff reported with AP files August 21, 2013.


"Wildfire Suppression Efforts Suffer Under Budget Cuts" (Bozeman Daily Chronicle)

"Western Wildfires Tax Firefighting Resources, Push Spending Past $1 Billion" (AP)

"Resources Dwindle To Fight Large Wildfires Across the U.S." (NBC)

"California on Edge as Wildfires Spread" (San Francisco Chronicle)

Source: KOIN, 08/22/2013