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More Forest Thinning Projects?

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The federal government is looking to change the way it covers the costs of extinguishing large catastrophic wildfires.

The Associated Press reports that several Congressional lawmakers met with Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell yesterday to discuss a proposed new funding strategy. President Barack Obama has proposed in his budget to protect funds set aside for forest thinning projects from being diverted mid-year to fire suppression. Often times dollars that are initially allocated to forest thinning will later be diverted to cover the costs of fighting the largest fires.

To avoid fire season cost overruns, the new law would allow firefighting agencies to take money from a government fund set aside for natural disasters, such as hurricanes and tornadoes, if the firefighting costs reach 70% of the 10-year average.