Regional: Lawmakers seek solutions as wildfires burn hole in firefighting budget

  • Source: Arizona Daily Sun
  • Published: 09/28/2017 03:16 AM

The 2017 wildfire season is already one of most expensive on record, with a $2.35 billion price tag burning through the Forest Service’s budget, lawmakers and Agriculture Department officials said Tuesday. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and five Western senators, including Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Arizona, called for an end to the ongoing underfunding of firefighting efforts that forces Forest Service to shift funds from other needed areas. The problem of “fire borrowing” has been around for years, but Flake said Tuesday that the current combination of a particularly bad fire season and an “administration that seems anxious to finally move on this,” could finally lead to a solution this year. Flake, who co-sponsored fire-borrowing legislation with Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, and others in 2014,, said he wants legislation that is permanent and fiscally sustainable.


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