Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Smaller budgets = larger fires?

An article on the Red, Green, and Blue website wonders if decreasing budgets for fire prevention and the land management agencies results in larger wildfires. Here is an excerpt:
Year after year, Bush has cut funding from the USFS, yet within this budget, more money is allocated for fire management and less for fire prevention. In February, 2008, Bush proposed decreasing fire preparedness monies by 11 percent. Although the budget calls for a $150 million increase for extinguishing blazes, prevention funding is slashed by $77 million, including a $13 million reduction in small fuels removal. Similar cuts were proposed in 2007. Casey Judd, business manager for the Federal Wildland Fire Service Association, a firefighter employee group explains, “The administration still has it backward.

Preparedness should be the focus, not suppression.” Norm Dicks, D-Wash., adds, “Common sense would be that if you put more money into fuel reduction, it’s going to have an effect on having less severe fires.” The White House response was that money could be shifted between the agency’s firefighting and fire suppression accounts, as needed. This is exactly what concerns USFS employees with the current California wildfires.
The article has a quote from Al Gore:
Today, unprecedented fires are burning in California and elsewhere in the American west.

Higher temperatures lead to drier vegetation that makes kindling for mega-fires of the kind that have been raging in Canada, Greece, Russia, China, South America, Australia, and Africa. Scientists in the Department of Geophysics and Planetary Science at Tel Aviv University tell us that for every one degree increase in temperature, lightning strikes will go up another 10 percent. And it is lightning, after all, that is principally responsible for igniting the conflagration in California today.

No comments:

Post a Comment