On June 4, Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus (CSC) members Representatives Kurt Schrader and Mike Simpson sent a “Dear Colleague” letter regarding H.R. 3992, the Wildfire Disaster Funding Act.
H.R. 3992 would fix the way we currently budget for wildfire suppression by treating catastrophic wildfires in the same manner as other natural disasters. Currently, agencies like the U.S. Forest Service must borrow from other non-fire accounts when fire suppression costs exceed the budget. “Fire borrowing” was intended to be an extraordinary measure, but as fire seasons have grown more destructive it has become common practice and has created a devastating cycle that prevents or delays agencies from doing needed hazardous fuels removal or forest management, leading to worse fires. Agencies recently projected that the 2014 fire season would cost over $470 million more than currently budgeted, exacerbating an already significant problem.
H.R. 3992 does not increase spending — it is a budget process bill which the Congressional Budget Office has determined does not score. The bill would end the disruptive practice of fire borrowing and ensure that adequate funding is available for both wildfire suppression and land management practices that build healthy forests.
The bill enjoys the support of over 20 members of the American Wildlife Conservation Partnership (AWCP), including the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF). Click here to view the letter from the AWCP in support of H.R. 3992.
Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?