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Wildfires Costs U.S. Forest Service Millions of Dollars

Terry Chea / AP

Novato Fire District firefighter Kyle Marshall sprays a spot while fighting fires in Big Sur, Calif., Friday, July 29, 2016.

Terry Chea / AP

The rapidly increasing cost of fighting wildfires is causing the U.S. Forest Service to burn through its budget.

For the first time in more than a century, wildfire costs in fiscal year 2015 totaled more than half the agency's budget.

White House Office of Management and Budget director Shaun Donovan argued Tuesday that Congress should provide the agency more funding.

"Congress needs to get the job done, ensure not another season goes by that risks more homes, more communities, more water supplies and more importantly, more lives," Donovan says.

In California, the Soberanes fire near Big Sur cost 8 million dollars a day to fight during its peak—the costliest wildfire in U.S. history.

That fire started more than three months ago and is still not fully contained.

"If no action is taken, the Forest Service will continue to lose money that is necessary to complete the critical work that keeps our forest healthy and accessible, and our communities resilient," Donovan says.

 

 wildfire

Ja'Nel Johnson

Former Health Care Reporter

Ja'Nel Johnson developed a love for journalism and health and science in high school, and decided the combination would make for an interesting and fun career.  Read Full Bio 

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