A new strategy for fighting wildfires has been announced by the federal government in response to increasingly costly fire seasons in the West.
Rather than waiting for wildfires to take hold, the new strategy emphasizes prevention and stable funding.
Wildfire seasons have become longer and more intense in many parts of the West, including Oregon and Washington.
Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack says fire management costs have risen from 13 to 40 percent of the forest service budget in the last decade alone.
Vilsack and other top officials announced the new fire management plan Wednesday.
Vilsack says the government is hoping “to restore and maintain resilient landscapes across all jurisdictions, to better prepare our communities so they can live within and withstand a wildfire without loss of life and property.”
The costs of fighting the most severe blazes would no longer drain existing budgets or borrow from other agencies, government officials said.
Though the president’s budget has yet to be approved by Congress, this new fire management strategy is expected to set the funding priorities.
Copyright 2014 Oregon Public Broadcasting