US, California: Climate-driven wildfires consume forest service budget

Bloomberg LP

“The cheapest fire to fight is one that never burns,” Bill Stewart, co-director of the Center for Forestry at the University of California-Berkeley told Bloomberg.

A warmer, drier climate not only makes existing tinder more flammable, it also helps create more fuel for flames, requiring better forest management, Stewart said. Pine beetles that have eaten through trees, killing and drying them, are among the problems the Forest Service hasn’t been able to adequately respond, Stewart added.

“The more they put into fire suppression and not into prevention, the more the fire problem could get worse,” he said. “You need to think more about sustainable management of forests.”

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