By Don C. Brunell/Don C. Brunell is a business analyst, writer and columnist. He retired as president of the Association of Washington Business, the state’s oldest and largest business organization, and now lives in Vancouver. He can be contacted at theBrunells@msn.com.
The costs to fight wildfires has risen so high that a pair of Montana’s senators suggest the U.S. Forest Service should be renamed “U.S. Fire Service.”
Senators Jon Tester (D) and Steve Daines (R) told the Billings Gazette in late August the rising costs are crippling the agency’s essential non-fire related work. Fire suppression costs now consume over half of the Forest Service budget compared with 16 percent 20 years ago.