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Wyden Introduces Bill To Fund Wildfire Control

Oregon Democratic Senator Ron Wyden reintroduced legislation Thursday that would boost federal funding to fight wildfires.

Currently, wildfire budgets are set by using ten-year cost averages for fire fighting. But in recent years wildfires are tending to be bigger, hotter, and more expensive to control. The Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management sometimes have to pull money away from other programs to foot the bill for major fires.

Last year, wildfires burned more than 1.2 million acresin Oregon and Washington. In some areas, like Central Oregon, fires burned more than double the yearly average.

Wyden's bill calls for treating the most catastrophic wildfires like other natural disasters. They'd be paid for in much the same way as hurricane or tornado recovery. He introduced the bill along with Republican Senator Mike Crapo from Idaho.



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