U.S Forest Service

This has been one of the worst — and most expensive — wildfire seasons ever in the Northwest, where climate change and a history of suppressing wildfires have created a dangerous buildup of fuels.

With fires burning hotter and more intense, there are renewed calls to change how the federal government pays to fight the biggest fires.

"These large and intense fires are a natural disaster in much the same way a hurricane or a tornado or a flood is," U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says. "And they ought to be funded as such through the emergency funding of FEMA."

Katie Campbell / AP Images

Public broadcasters are calling on the U.S. Forest Service to make a number of changes in its regulation of photography, filming and recording on public lands.

Several public media organizations jointly submitted comments Wednesday to the Forest Service. That agency is considering a proposed directive that would require permits to film, photograph, and record in wilderness areas.

The public broadcasters want the Forest Service to allow filming and photography without a permit when such activity would have no more impact on the land than the general public does.

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The U.S. Forest Service is developing a rule that would let it decide whether the media could film in wilderness areas, or take photos there. Broadcasters say the rule gives the government too much control over the content of news stories.

The Forest Service would issue permits based on the potential impact to wilderness areas as well as the story topic.

A fee of up to $1,500 could also be required to receive a permit.

Ron Pisaneschi is the general manager of Idaho Public Television. He says he and other broadcasters are prepared to fight the rule.