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Disasters & Accidents

Congress Takes Recess Without Moving Ahead On Wildfire Funding

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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.

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