PHOENIX — The Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management have $1.4 billion available to fight fires but expect to spend $1.8 billion to do their jobs.
Both agencies said that could force them to pull funding from other programs such as forest thinning projects, controlled burns and keeping up the campgrounds. It’s called “fire borrowing” and they’ve diverted funds seven times in the past 12 years.
It’s happening more often because fire seasons are about two to three months longer than they were 30 years ago. Annual acreage burned has more than doubled to more than 7 million and more people are building homes in the forest. The result is driving up the firefighting costs.
Arizona is moving into the heart of the wildfire season with $4 million of state money to battle the fires. That doesn’t sound like a lot to work with, but David Geyer with Arizona State Forestry said they can tap into federal dollars if it reaches that level of disaster.
“What we would request is a Fire Management Assistance Grant which would give us up to 75 percent of eligible costs,” Geyer said. “When FEMA steps in, it’s only for the fires on state and private land.”
The state has received federal grants for six fires in the past three years, including the Wallow and Yarnell Hill fires, which saved the state $10 million to $13 million.
- The best places to celebrate Fall in Phoenix
- Infamous athletes who did the most time for their crimes
- 2016 baseball highlights, bloopers and blunders
- See how CFOs really feel about business in the Valley
- The best television shows on the internet
- A preseason guide to avoid holiday weight gain
- The 5 worst things you could do for your roof
- 6 coolest things brewing in Arizona
- The virus that keeps head and neck cancers on the rise
- State Fair ‘Kid Reporter’ has all the angles covered
- 4 important things to know about timeshare maintenance fees
- Signs of delayed car crash injuries
- The truth about sports concussions
- The Alzheimer's epidemic: Facts you need to know
- The season is here, keep your Fantasy Football team strong all season
- 8 TV shows you can't miss this fall
- Football is here: 6 tips to make this your best season ever
- Gameday recipes and beers to match
- 6 reasons the Cardinals are driven to win the Super Bowl
- The Pac-12 football season nears kickoff
- Tips to get ready for a pain-free golf season
- Protect your family with these 7 home security features
- How to train like an Olympic swimmer
- 2016 Olympics: A guide to must-see TV events
- The bride's guide to feeling your best on your wedding day
- Deciding when you need knee surgery
- Celebrating Fourth of July is much cooler in these AZ towns
- Top ten road trip bathrooms in America
- Six things causing a pain in your neck
- 5 things to make your summer move easier