August 22, 2013 in Nation/World

Feds low on firefighting funds

 

Running out of money to fight wildfires at the peak of the season, the U.S. Forest Service is diverting $600 million from timber, recreation and other areas to fill the gap.

The nation’s top wildfire-fighting agency was down to $50 million after spending $967 million so far this year, Forest Service spokesman Larry Chambers said Wednesday in an email.

Chambers said the $50 million the Forest Service has left is typically enough to pay for just a few days of fighting fires when the nation is at its top wildfire preparedness level, which went into effect Tuesday.

Forest Service Chief Thomas Tidwell sent a letter Aug. 16 to regional foresters and other top officials telling them to come up with the cuts by Friday.

It was the sixth time the Forest Service has had to divert funds since 2002.

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