Idaho GOP Sen. Mike Crapo and Colorado Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet are calling for FEMA to shift priorities and dramatically step up its funding for wildfire prevention. In the last decade, just 0.5 percent of FEMA’s hazard mitigation assistance spending went to wildfire-related work. “These infrequently funded fire mitigation projects have one of the highest returns on investment out of all the different FEMA mitigation categories,” the two senators wrote to the Senate appropriations subcommittee chair and ranking member for homeland security, Sen. Mary Landrieu and Sen. Dan Coats.
“We ask you to work with FEMA to ensure that a greater share of its pre-disaster mitigation resources go to wildfire mitigation efforts. Requiring FEMA to report on its efforts to date to support wildfire mitigation projects, and its plans to support fire mitigation activities going forward, would be an important first step,” they wrote. “And we hope to explore additional fire mitigation and preparedness options with the subcommittee, in order to prevent taxpayer dollars from being needlessly consumed in expensive fire suppression operations down the road.” You can read the full letter here.
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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