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Oregon Delegation Works Toward More Wildfire Support

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he federal Office of Management and Budget has included $576.5 million in wildfire funding in its supplemental budget request to Congress, recommending that "active forest management and forestry reform" be included as a way to stop the practice of "borrowing" money from fire prevention work in order to fight wildfires, according to a release from Rep. Greg Walden's office.

"Every year we repeat this stupid, stupid cycle," said Rep. Greg Walden, R-Hood River, in a release Oct. 4. "Robbing the accounts that would do the forest thinning to pay for the firefighting while the fires are going on, so we don't do the preventive work because we have to pay for the fire," Walden stated. "It makes no sense. It is four to five times more expensive to fight fires than to do the treatment."

Last week, U.S. Senators, including Ron Wyden, D-OR, also introduced the Wildfire Mitigation Assistance Act to offer more resources to communities recovering from wildfires. The bill would treat wildfires in the same manner as other natural disasters, making Hazard Mitigation Assistance funding available to states. According to a release from Wyden's office sent Oct. 6, states can get hazard mitigation funding only after the president declares a major disaster—which doesn't usually happen with wildfires.


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