Up in smoke: federal wildfire suppression costs are rising

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The cost of fighting wildfires is rising for the Forest Service and Interior Department.

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  • In this EcoWest presentation, we discuss rising federal spending on wildfires.
  • Narrative: Data from the National Interagency Fire Centershow that the government’s tab for wildfire suppression varies considerably from year to year, but the inflation-adjusted total has generally been rising. Suppression costs per federal wildfireand acre burned are also increasing. Spending by the U.S. Forest Service and Department of Interior agencies tend to move together. Source: National Interagency Fire CenterURL: http://www.nifc.gov/fireInfo/fireInfo_documents/SuppCosts.pdf http://www.ecowest.org/fires/suppression-costs/
  • Narrative: The U.S. Forest Service accounts for the bulk of federal spending on wildfire suppression. Agencies in the Department of Interior include the National Park Service and Bureau of Land Management.Source: National Interagency Fire CenterURL: http://www.nifc.gov/fireInfo/fireInfo_documents/SuppCosts.pdf http://www.ecowest.org/fires/suppression-costs/
  • Narrative: Inflation-adjusted costs are also increasing per federal wildfire and acre burned. Source: National Interagency Fire CenterURL: http://www.nifc.gov/fireInfo/fireInfo_documents/SuppCosts.pdf http://www.ecowest.org/fires/suppression-costs/
  • Narrative: Here’s how the Forest Service spent its money over the past 10 years. The red bar is for wildland fire management, but sometimes bad fire years have forced the agency to rely on supplemental and emergency appropriations from Congress, shown in pink.Source:US Forest ServiceURL: http://www.fs.fed.us/aboutus/budget/
  • Up in smoke: federal wildfire suppression costs are rising

    1. 1. Federal wildfire suppression costs 10/4/2013
    2. 2. Federal spending to fight wildfires is increasing 1/2/2013 2Source: National Interagency Fire Center
    3. 3. Federal spending to fight wildfires (in 2012 dollars) 1/2/2013 3 $0 $500 $1,000 $1,500 $2,000 $2,500 Millions Department of Interior U.S. Forest Service Source: National Interagency Fire Center
    4. 4. Federal spending per fire and acre (in 2012 dollars) 1/2/2013 4 $- $200 $400 $600 $800 $1,000 $1,200 $- $20,000 $40,000 $60,000 $80,000 $100,000 $120,000 $140,000 $160,000 $ per federal fire $ per federal acre Source: National Interagency Fire Center
    5. 5. Forest Service budget: wildfires biggest item 10/4/2013 5 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 Billions(Dollars) Supplemental/Emergency/Reserve Other Appropriations Land Acquisition: LWCF State and Private Forestry Forest and Rangeland Research Capital Improvement and Maintenance Mandatory Appropriations National Forest System Wildland Fire Management Source: U.S. Forest Service
    6. 6. ecowest.org Download more slides and other resources 10/4/2013 6

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