The end of fire season is fast approaching and U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue says the wildfires of 2017 will be most expensive ever -- and Congress needs to address the issue.
At the end of the Fiscal Year, nationwide wildfire firefighting costs have exceeded $2 billion; approximately 2.2 million acres of national forest system lands have burned -- and it's taken more than 27,000 people to fight those fires.
The Department of Agriculture says firefighting suppression costs make up 55% or more of the USFS, budget. ?Perdue said that means the money to fight fires is perpetually borrowed from forest management and fire prevention, keeping necessary preventative work from being done.
During a visit earlier this summer at the Lolo Peak fire, Perdue said, "I’m not from Montana but I wouldn’t want these kinds of situations having to live with on a year-in, year-out basis. And we don’t want the people of Montana to either,"