How States Can Better Budget for Wildfires

Government officials and Pew experts to discuss key issues and findings from new report

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How States Can Better Budget for Wildfires

On Thursday, Dec. 15, The Pew Charitable Trusts hosted leaders from federal and state agencies to deliver perspectives on the growing burden of wildfires on state budgets. The expert panel built on the key findings and recommendations from a new Pew study, “Wildfires: Burning Through State Budgets.”

Wildfires in the United States have become more catastrophic and expensive in recent years, with the U.S. Department of the Interior and the Forest Service nearly doubling their combined spending on wildfire management in the past decade. As more frequent and severe fires drive up public spending, policymakers at all levels of government are faced with decisions about how to pay for the diverse array of interventions required to deal with them.

During this event, practitioners from state forestry and budget agencies, as well as federal partners, detailed their experiences and provided insights on challenges and promising practices in addressing budgeting issues related to wildfire management.

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Agenda:

Introduction

Colin Foard, manager, fiscal federalism initiative, The Pew Charitable Trusts

Panel discussion: Budgeting for wildfires

Kacey KC, Division of Forestry, Nevada Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
Jeffery Rupert, Office of Wildland Fire, U.S. Department of the Interior
Alexei Painter, Division of Legislative Finance, Alaska State Legislature
Peter Muller (moderator), officer, fiscal federalism initiative, The Pew Charitable Trusts

Q&A

Moderated by Colin Foard

EVENT DETAILS
Date: Thursday, December 15, 2022
Time: 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM ET
Location: Virtual

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Report

Wildfires: Burning Through State Budgets

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Report

Wildfires in the United States have become more catastrophic and expensive in recent years, with the U.S. Department of the Interior and the U.S. Forest Service nearly doubling their combined spending on wildfire management in the last decade. Wildfire management consists of preparing for, fighting, recovering from, and reducing the risk of fires. To execute these activities, states, localities, the federal government, and Tribes, as well as nongovernment entities such as nonprofit organizations and private property owners, participate in a complex system of responsibilities and funding dictated by land ownership and an interconnected set of cooperative agreements.

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Fact Sheet

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Fact Sheet

Wildfires in the United States have been getting bigger and more frequent for decades, with a startling shift in recent years: In the period from 2017 to 2021, the average annual acreage burned was 68% larger than the annual average from 1983 to 2016.

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