In recent years, we have seen wild fires raze down hundreds of homes and consequently the budget for fire fighting has become so high. The cost for firefighting alone has come as close to half of the US Forest Service budget. At this point one begins to wonder if anything can be done to either curb either the rising costs of firefighting, or the fire itself.
To further buttress this, the FLAME, i.e. the acronym for Federal Land Assistance and Management Act, having created accounts separated for fund wild fires; means that more money will be going into the fighting of fires.
The challenge is this, less than 20% of privately owned land located beside a public forest has a home on it, across the West. Considering the cost of protecting these homes from fire every year, you now wonder what happens to the Forest Service budget when up to 50% of those lands were developed.
The communities residing in these fire prone areas have since adopted protection activities that involve clearing some defensible space in the case of a fire outbreak. There has also been an increase in the use of building materials that are fire-resistant in setting up homes.
However, we still hear news of homes being burnt down even after implementing ‘Fire wise’ protection activities. This means that the cost of fighting fires will likely continue to escalate.
So in order to stem this tide, maybe the government may need to formulate policies that affect housing in fire prone areas, or develop better ways of preventing fires in these areas.