Federal Wildfire Costs Burn State Forestry Programs

The Kentucky Division of Forestry burns through the money it receives from the state to fight a large number of fires.  It relies on federal funds to tend to much of the rest of its work of keeping forests healthy and preventing fires.  But federal wildfire fighting costs have exceeded a billion dollars every year this decade.  Kentucky Division of Forestry head Leah MacSwords says that’s left her already strained agency short.

“And what would happen is that the forest service would spend all its money fighting wildfires.  And when they did that, they would have to borrow money from other forestry programs, those very programs that help states,” says MacSwords.

The pending new legislation would partition emergency firefighting funds and ensure the rest of the US Forest Service’s funds for states aren’t compromised