US, states struggle to pay spiraling cost of fighting fires

The brutal 2017 wildfire season is stressing California's agencies that pay for the resources to battle the deadly fires. (Oct. 15, 2017)

The brutal 2017 wildfire season is stressing the state and federal agencies that pay for the army of ground crews and machinery required to fight them.

The federal government spent more than $2.7 billion on firefighting in its just-finished budget year, far surpassing the previous record of $2.1 billion in 2015.

In California, firefighting costs have already chewed through more than half the state's $469 million emergency fund for big fires just three months in.

That doesn't include the recent catastrophic fires that claimed dozens of lives and thousands of buildings.

California officials said Friday they expect the cost of fighting those fires will be hundreds of millions of dollars.

The fires are increasing pressure on lawmakers and forest managers to find new ways to pay for firefighting and fire prevention.

© 2018 KXTV-TV


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