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U.S. Forest Service's hazardous fuels budget

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PHOENIX (CBS5) -

Here are some facts about the U.S. Forest Service hazardous fuels budget.

This is a statement from the U.S. Forest Service:

"We are currently experiencing a challenging fiscal environment that requires difficult tradeoffs between vital agency programs. It is critical to ensure that the U.S. Forest Service maintains adequate capability to respond to wildfires threatening lives, property, and valuable natural and cultural resources while continuing to make progress in reducing hazardous fuels to decrease the risk of extreme wildfires.  

"The President's Fiscal Year 2014 budget request for the U.S. Forest Service includes $201 million for Hazardous Fuels. In Fiscal Year 2013, the U.S. Forest Service received approximately $301 million for Hazardous Fuels (the federal fiscal year begins Oct. 1 and ends Sept. 30 each year).  

"The U.S. Forest Service is responsible for reducing hazardous fuels within the funding that Congress provides. We do the best job we can with the funding that we have. Due to budget reductions, the U.S. Forest Service target for acres treated declined from 1.6 million in 2012 to 1.4 million in 2013, about a 14 percent reduction. Cuts were spread proportionally between regions. However, in 2012, the U.S. Forest Service far exceeded the target and we anticipate that again this year."  

U.S. Forest Service Total Acres Treated

2003 - 1.3 million

2004 - 2.4 million

2005 - 2.6 million

2006 - 2.4 million

2007 - 2.8 million

2008 - 2.6 million

2009 - 3 million

2010 - 2.9 million

2011 - 2.3 million

2012 - 2 million (400,000 acres above 2012 target referenced in preceding paragraph)

"If the U.S. Forest Service exhausts funding sources normally used for fire suppression, it is necessary for the agency to transfer funds from other programs to cover fire suppression costs. This has occurred seven times since 2002. Following are the amounts that had to be transferred from other U.S. Forest Service programs to cover the costs of fire suppression."

Fiscal Year 2002 - $999 million

Fiscal Year 2003 - $695 million

Fiscal Year 2006 - $200 million

Fiscal Year 2007 - $100 million

Fiscal Year 2008 - $273 million

Fiscal Year 2012 - $440 million

Fiscal Year 2013 - $600 million (approximately, exact final figure not available yet due to government shutdown)

Total - $3,307,000,000 (estimated, again exact final figures for 2013 not yet available)

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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