Preparedness for the 2009 Wildfire Season, Hearing Before the Subcommittee on Public Lands and Forests of the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, United States Senate, One Hundred Eleventh Congress, First Session, to Consider the Preparedness of Federal Land Management Agencies for the 2009 Wildfire Season and to Receive Testimony On S. 561 and H.R. 1404, the Federal Land Assistance, Management and Enhancement Act, July 21, 2009 [open pdf - 390KB]
From the opening statement of Ron Wyden: "Today the committee looks at the preparedness of the Federal land management agencies for the current wildfire season. The heart of the problem it seems to me is pretty straightforward. We are having more large wildfires. They are more frequent. They are more extreme. Putting them out means spending more money on what is known as wildfire suppression. So what has happened is almost every year the Forest Service has to go out and spend more money on wildfire suppression than it has budgeted. Then it goes out and borrows billions of dollars. That's been the case over a number of years from the programs that are set up to prevent the wildfires. These are programs like thinning and hazardous fuels reduction. Now the reality is that these quick cash schemes never solve the budget problem. They all but guarantee that future wildfires are going to be even more costly and more dangerous. In fact the Forest Service's borrowing results in higher costs, not only to taxpayers, but also to the private businesses and organizations that work with the Forest Service. It has adversely affected virtually everything the Forest Service does and poses a significant threat to the Agency's capacity to carry out its mission." Statements, letters, and materials submitted for the record include those of the following: Patricia Dalton, Jay Jensen, Leah MacSwords, Lisa Murkowski, Max R. Peterson, Rhea Suh, and Ron Wyden.
S. Hrg. 111-128; Senate Hearing 111-128
Government Printing Office, Congressional Hearings: http://www.gpoaccess.gov/chearings/index.html