Target: US Office of Management and Budget Spokesperson, Jamal Brown
Goal: Reduce the threat of destructive and expensive wildfires in the Southwestern U.S. by investing in wildfire prevention.
Recently, wildfires in the Southwestern United States have increased in frequency and intensity with 2012 being the third worst wildfire season in 50 years. Recent budget cuts reduced the Forest Service’s budget by 7.5 percent, nearly half of which is devoted to fighting wildfires. The Office of Management and Budget is considering yet another budget cut to wildfire prevention of 24 percent. These cuts reinforce what Climate Desk refers to as “an increasingly distorted federal budget,” that prioritizes billions of dollars into firefighting rather than investing in inexpensive and effective fire prevention methods.
Wildfires cause extensive damage to people and the environment. Costs associated with wildfires include property loss and decline of property value, habitat loss, and the decline of long-term ecosystem services. These costs are predicted to increase in the future as a result of climate change.
A study by North Arizona University concluded that local governments are more directly affected by wildfire costs than federal government. Thus communities are being forced to take matters into their own hands. Local prevention efforts are currently underway in Flagstaff, Arizona, where a $10 million bond has allowed a forest firefighting crew to use thinning and clearing techniques to manage and impede destructive wildfires. This project can serve as an important model for local wildfire prevention in other at-risk areas. Sign below if you agree that the federal government should invest in wildfire prevention.
Dear U.S. Office of Management and Budget Spokesperson, Jamal Brown,
The federal budget must address the significant role of wildfire prevention in the Southwest by investing in cheap and effective preventative measures, rather than spending billions on fighting fires and paying for post-fire damages.
In recent years, wildfires in the Southwestern U.S. have increased in frequency and intensity while the budget for wildfire prevention has decreased. This approach is harmful to people in fire-prone areas and the environment. Costs associated with wildfires include property loss and decline of property value, habitat loss, and the decline of long-term ecosystem services.
The federal government’s budget doesn’t take into account the money they would be saving in preventing wildfires from starting in the first place. I urge you to stop implementing budget cuts to preventative wildfire spending and encourage investment in this beneficial cause.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Daina Dajevskis via Flickr