ACWA Executive Director Quinn Co-Authors Sac Bee Op-Ed Urging Congress To Fix Wildfire Funding

  • by Will Holbert
  • Dec 18, 2017
  • Water News

A Dec. 14 Sacramento Bee op-ed penned by ACWA Executive Director Timothy Quinn and David Edelson with The Nature Conservancy urges Congress to fix a senseless approach to funding disaster recovery in light of the state’s increasingly catastrophic wildfires.

The column addresses how the current system forces the U.S. Forest Service to essentially borrow money from other programs after exhausting its fire suppression funds. This causes a domino effect on the effectiveness of other programs necessary to forest health.  The Forest Service manages one fifth of California’s land and most of its forests – the source of 60% of California’s drinking water.

Wildfire impact is a critical issue for the California Forest Watershed Alliance, which includes ACWA and The Nature Conservancy as founding partners.

It is an ideal time to fix that funding method because Congress is now considering a year-end bill that includes disaster recovery funding. “A fire funding fix belongs in that bill,” argues the column, which calls on House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to ensure such a fix is part of the bill.

“Unfortunately, California’s forests are facing a dire threat from high-severity wildfire, an insect and disease epidemic and a changing climate. Wildfires continue to get larger, hotter and more destructive. The eight biggest wildfire seasons in the last 60 years have all taken place since 2000.

“In addition to managing most of California’s forests, the Forest Service plays a leading role in fighting catastrophic wildfires in California and across the West. The fire problem has become so huge that the Forest Service now spends more than half of its budget fighting wildfire emergencies, leaving little left over to restore forest ecosystems back to health. Experts expect that trend to worsen if it isn’t fixed,” reads the op-ed.

The full op-ed is available here .

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