The escalating price attributed to fighting the massive number of forest fires plaguing California-currently, this year’s tally stands at 1,781-have prompted Congress to pass the Federal Land Assistance, Management and Enhancement (FLAME) Act, which will provide government funding for programs that lose funding when most funds are pulled to use in suppressing forest fires. Santa Barbara’s own Gap Fire has cost $14.2 million to date, along with the Basin Fire in Monterey County, which has cost upwards of $100 million.
The act contains two major provisions, providing separate funding relief for containing fires along with a cohesive strategy which will asses the risks to communities, prioritizing hazardous fuel reduction treatments, and providing rapid response to fire starts around the state and nation. Lois Capps supported the FLAME act since it will help with the strain on the Forest Service when trying to find funding to fight fires that occur almost every year. Due to the rising temperatures caused by global climate change-the heat wave experienced by much of the state in early June was well ahead of schedule-the number of fires is likely to increase in coming years. “As we face increased wildfire threats due to prolonged droughts, global warming, and increased development in remote areas, we must ensure federal fire fighting tactics are both proactive and reactive,” she said.