The federal budget is facing enough issues and there has not been an agreement made to resolve the problems. Now, another problem putting a pinch on the budget is wildfires. Federal agencies are those who are responsible for fighting the wildfires that have been causing devastation across the country. Currently, a fire in Northern California is causing mass devastation.
The U.S. Forest Service said just last week it has exhausted its firefighting funds, which were close to $1 billion. It said it needs to pull another $600 million from other programs, such as fire prevention, to continue fighting these fires that are destroying thousands of acres of property.
The Department of Interior is getting close to spending all of its $368 million of fire suppression funds. It is expected to use those funds up completely by mid-September, according to staff at the National Interagency Fire Center in Idaho. By the close of last week the agency had already spent $301 million.
Despite budget shortfalls, federal agencies won’t stop fighting fires. During the last decade the agencies have pulled from other sources when they have run low on firefighting funds. Congress has traditionally replaced what funds have been borrowed. This year, however, has been particularly bad with fires in Colorado, California, Oregon, Arizona and Idaho. The Forest Service has been spending about $100 million per week to fight fires. The Forest Service is currently at Preparedness Level 5, which is its highest state of alert.
Fires are currently threatening Yosemite National Park and San Francisco’s water and power sources. The dangerous fires claimed the lives of a group of 19 firemen earlier this year.
While the firefighting must continue, there are also concerns about the significant amount of damages being incurred. The fires are destroying woodland, parks, communities and personal property. Damages are believed to already be in the tens of billions of dollars.
States of emergency are being declared and federal funding and assistance will be needed for those displaced and suffering damages as a direct result of the fires. Many have pointed out that the budget of the Federal Emergency Management Agency could also be suffering from the numerous fires across the country.
Although this has already been a bad year for wildfires, it has been pointed out that the fire season is not yet over and more fires are possible. People across the nation are being urged to take extreme prevention in an effort to prevent additional fires.
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