Tuesday, August 16, 2016

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Senators say Wildfires are disasters

Boise--Idaho Senators Mike Crapo and Jim Risch are urging Congress to treat wildfires as natural disasters, making them eligible for emergency funding through FEMA.
Congress allocates funds taken from land treatment to pay wildfire supression costs, a process known known as fire borrowing.
But the money seldom gets repaid.
"We need to recognize that this one percent of the fires that causes 30 percent of the cost are catastrophic," said Sen. Crapo at a press conference Monday at Boise's National Interagency Fire Center with Senator Risch. "They're disasters just like a hurricane, a flood, or a tidal wave."
After years of lobbying Western Senators finally have a powerful support from the East.
New York Senator Chuck Schumer, a Democrat, says a beetle infestation is killing trees in upstate New York used to produce bats for major league baseball. Schumer says federal funds to fight the beetle are used to pay for wildfire expenses.
Schemer says fire borrowing, is hurting baseball.
It's an example, the senators say that the effects of wildfire are felt far beyond the West.
"it's a wake up call," said Wyden. "The reality is it is such a drain on resources, the baseball bat is just one example, people probably wouldn't have thought that, but it is an actual industry for one of our colleagues."
The senators from the West hope Schumer's support will help swing a vote in Congress after the summer recess to scrap fire borrowing practices.

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