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Governor Wants More Fire Funds

February 6, 2013 Jackson Hole, State of Wyoming No Comments
8-25 Fire

Wyoming Governor Matt Mead told reporters yesterday that now is the time to be sure there is enough money in the budget to handle a fire season this summer that could well equal or surpass the seriousness of the summer of 2012.  Mead says what is currently proposed by the legislature in the budget is not nearly enough for him to be comfortable that the state is ready.  Mead says the state spent roughly $45 million dollars on fires last year – and to do that, the state had to take funds from other agencies to pay the firefighting bills.  He says there’s nothing that indicates that the fire season this year won’t be at least as bad as last year.  Mead says, “I asked for $60-million to partially refill the “coffee cans” for next year; so if I run out at $30-million, am I to say, ‘County A, sorry – we’re just not going to come out there?’”  He says the legislature’s answer is just allocate the needed funding from other agencies. Mead says if the state believes $60-million is needed for fire suppression in the coming year, it should be put on the bottom line of the fire suppression budget despite the size of the number.  Mead says he doesn’t want to have to tell the counties, quoting now “Hey counties, you have your fires early because we’re going to run out of money – we’ve got to fight those fires.”  Last year, the Horsethief Canyon Fire near Jackson alone cost the state nearly $9-million.

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