Congress Fires-Up the FLAME Act
2009-03-10 / Adam Cramer
Today both the House and Senate took decisive, bi-partisan action to get a handle on the cost of suppressing catastrophic wildfires by introducing the FLAME Act (Federal Land Assistance, Management and Enhancement Act, H.R. 1404). The human-powered outdoor recreation community applauds this critical step in getting a handle on catastrophic wildfires.
Under the current system, about one-half of the U.S. Forest Service's annual budget is already set aside for dealing with forest fires. Money used for fire is not used for vital land management projects, or for taking care of access roads, trails, crags and river access points. What's more is that when fires really get out of hand, federal agencies are forced to "steal from Peter to pay Paul" and pilfer non-fire budgets to pay for catastrophic fires.
The FLAME Act attempts to get some much needed control on how we pay for catastrophic fires by setting up a special account in the US Treasury to deal with the really big, really expensive wildfires. In addition to having the special account, the FLAME Act also would require the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture (which oversees the Forest Service) to develop a comprehensive wildland fire management strategy to improve fire prevention on our public lands.
Outdoor Alliance looks forward to working with Congress and the Obama Administration to pass the FLAME Act and get it signed into law.
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