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Congress Takes Recess Without Moving Ahead On Wildfire Funding

Oregon Military Dept.
Credit Oregon Military Dept.

More than fifty fires continue to burn in the West. Efforts this summer to change how the federal government pays for fire suppression hasn't moved forward. And that has one Oregon lawmaker speaking out.

The Obama Administration has proposed paying for wildfire suppression the same way the federal government responds to natural disasters, such as hurricanes and tornadoes.  

Representative Peter DeFazio of Springfield spoke on the floor of the U.S. House Thursday.

The democrat said lawmakers are going on recess without holding a hearing on a bill to give more money to the U.S. Forest Service.

Rep. DeFazio: "Two days ago the Forest Service said they have $179-million dollars left for suppression. Last week alone they spent $150-million on suppression efforts. That means, uh, next week while we're out of session they'll run out of money and they'll do what they always do, they'll start pulling back money from the fuel reduction, forest health and other programs to fight the fires."

DeFazio told his congressional colleagues that $1-million a day is being spent to put out the Deception Complex burning near Oakridge.

Copyright 2014 KLCC

Angela Kellner
Angela Kellner is the KLCC host of All Things Considered and a reporter. Angela began as a KLCC volunteer in 1991 when she was in high school. While a student at Lane Community College, she was hired in 1993 for a work-study position in the KLCC Music Department and has been with the station in some role since then. Angela hosted KLCC's world music program Tropical Beat for 11 years from 1994 to 2005 and continues to fill in on a monthly basis.