Idaho, Oregon Lawmakers Push New Way To Pay For Wildfires

Aug 12, 2015

Credit Washington DNR

Lawmakers from Idaho and Oregon say they are renewing efforts to change the way the country pays to fight catastrophic wildfires, arguing that agencies should be using natural disaster dollars rather than money set aside for fire prevention.

Republican Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch of Idaho and Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon announced Wednesday that they are getting ready to pitch bipartisan legislation to Congress this fall.

Crapo says that prior attempts of getting similar bills through Congress have stalled, but this year supporters have the backing of key congressional committee leaders to help move it through.

According to the legislation, firefighting agencies could use federal natural disaster funds for wildfire suppression if nationwide firefighting costs reached 70 percent of the 10-year average.