Fire Earth

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Posts Tagged ‘land acquisition’

Right on Track for 2009 Cost of Calif Fires Forecast

Posted by feww on August 26, 2008

Submitted by a CASF Member:

Forest Service Metamorphoses into Fire Service!

Forest Service is diverting hundreds of millions of dollars previously set aside for restoration, land acquisition, improvement, research even fire prevention and safety work to meet the tremendous cost of fighting fires, especially the wildfires in California this year.

Forest Service Chief Abigail Kimbell told regional foresters that cost of fighting fires could reach $1.6 billion, about half the agency’s 2008 budget.

“All of you are aware of the serious nature of this year’s fire season and the issues faced by the agency in paying for fire suppression costs,” Kimbell wrote in a memo. “At this time the only option for financing the shortfall is to use the agency’s transfer authority.”

Kimbell said, the foresters had to curtail spending on all non-critical items this year and “use prudent cost-saving judgment” in hiring and in approving overtime, but stopped short of mentioning layoffs.

“I recognize that this direction will have a significant effect on agency operations,” Kimbell said in the memo. “However, we must be in a position to protect life and property from wildfire, and do so within the funds available to the agency.

“The agency started transferring money in the middle of August and expects to take a total of $400 million from other areas through the rest of the fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30. Such transfers have occurred several times since 2000.” AP reported.

However, it has been predicted that the cost of fighting fires could reach $2 billion, and the transfers could top $750 million.

Q. What exactly was your forecast for the cost of California fires in 2009?

A. Err…, what exactly did you say the 2009 Forest Service budget was, and the maximum possible transfers by Kimbell?

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