BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A bipartisan effort is underway in Congress to create a new way to pay for battling wildfires that prevents the diversion of money intended to reduce the size of such fires.
Lawmakers from Oregon and Idaho met with Interior Secretary Sally Jewell on Monday to discuss the budget reform.
President Obama's proposed budget seeks a change in the long-standing method of funding the fight against the most catastrophic wildfires.
Historically, as fire season progressed money that had been set aside to thin forests and restore burned land was taken and used to pay for fighting the biggest blazes.
Legislation introduced in Congress would direct that when firefighting costs reach 70 percent of the 10-year average, firefighting agencies could dip into the government's fund for battling natural disasters like hurricanes.
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