2016-06-22 National Governors Association

Wildfire Suppression Funding

The Honorable Lisa Murkowski
U.S. Senate
SH-709 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

The Honorable Maria Cantwell
U.S. Senate
SH-511 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Chairman Murkowski and Ranking Member Cantwell,

The nation’s governors urge Congress to reform the federal wildfire suppression funding formula. We wrote last November and pointed out that federal budgeting practices predicting wildfire suppression costs do not provide accurate estimates. This is demonstrated by the current fire season.

Federal agencies transfer funds from forest management programs – fire mitigation, ecosystem restoration, timber management, recreation and livestock grazing – to fill gaps in annual fire suppression budgets. This weakens key programs and forces states to assume greater risk and cost.

We ask Congress to enact comprehensive budgetary reforms to address immediate wildfire suppression needs and provide stability for long-term planning. Thank you for your attention to this critical issue.

Sincerely,

Governor Matthew H. Mead, Wyoming
Chair, Natural Resources Committee

Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr., California
Vice Chair, Natural Resources Committee