Firebomber Publications Blog

Wildfire News Of The Day (the Archer Copywriting blog) provides comprehensive international wildfire news. Subscribers include over 10,000 personnel from fire agencies, contractors, and government entities on five continents. "BEST NEWSLETTER I HAVE EVER SEEN IN MY 32 YEARS IN THE FIRE SERVICE" - San Diego Fire Department Chief Brian Fennessy.

Friday, February 03, 2006

WILL FEMA FIDDLE WHILE THE WEST BURNS?

The Washington Post published an article on February 2nd recounting the scathing report from the GAO in regards to FEMA's response in the aftermath of Katrina (Administration Faulted on Katrina). The report laid the blame for the disastrous response squarely at the feet of the federal government, the same folks responsible for safeguarding the US in case of other disasters, like wildfires.

The report went further than just the Katrina response, however, pointing out that little had been done to rectify the shortcomings that caused so many problems for so many people (and continue to do so even to this day). The same flawed chain-of-command (or lack thereof) still exists. The wildfire season is already here, as witnessed by persistent wildfires in the Midwest. Arizona has 25 million dead Ponderosa pine trees that are a disaster waiting to happen, with Phoenix suffering through 100 days without any rain. Saying that Arizona is dry is like saying the Pacific Ocean is moist - it's a tinderbox!

So the question is: Do you want the same federal management of massive wildfires in the west that we had with the aftermath of Katrina? I know what my answer would be. What about yours? Let me know at marcher47@firebomberpublications.com.
CONGRESS SLASHES RURAL FIREFIGHTER FUNDING

On February 1st, Congress passed a deficit reduction bill as reported by the Washington Post (Budget Cuts Pass By a Slim Margin). This budget cut does little to reduce the deficit, which is over $14 trillion in total. The budget cut will be further marginalized by legislation by Congress to make tax cuts permanent for the wealthy.

An immediate casualty of this budget cut will be something that was buried deep inside the bill and received scant attention: The Rural Firefighters and Emergency Personnel Grants program, which provides money to rural fire departments (which constitute over 70% of the fire departments in the US). The projected cut is only $50 million, peanuts compared to the trillions Congress is ostensibly trying to reduce, but it's all the rural firefighters have. While changes to student loans and Medicare programs get much of the press, considering the wildfire season ahead (and the one we've already had this year), cutting this vital program could produce catastrophic results.

Does it make sense to take away what little these firefighters have and give it to the rich in a tax cut? Does Congress really want to be known as the anti-Robin Hood? Let me know what you think: marcher47@firebomberpublications.com.
 
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