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Maria Cantwell

Firefighting consumes Forest Service budget, sparks political clash

WASHINGTON Lawmakers are seeking budget solutions amid a superheated political climate as the wildland fires now raging across California, Washington and other Western states burn through federal dollars as well as forests. A new report warns the funding problem will worsen. Whether Congress rallies is another matter. For the first time in the Forest Service's 110-year history, the agency is spending more than half its budget on fire-related activities. Unless something changes, the new 16-page report predicts, firefighting will consume two-thirds of the agency's budget within a decade. "We have been pointing out this challenge for the past few years, but we have not been...

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