Washington, D.C. – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that included an amendment offered by Congresswoman Julia Brownley (D-CA) to increase federal funding for wildfire science research. Brownley offered her amendment to the FY 2020 appropriations bill (H.R. 3055) to increase funding for the Joint Fire Science Program within the U.S. Department of Interior from $3 million to $4 million.
“As climate change continues to increase the risk posed by wildfires in California and across the western United States, now is the time to invest rather than divest in the science of wildfire management and recovery,” said Congresswoman Brownley. “The Joint Fire Science Program has funded a significant portion of wildland fire and fuels research that has helped us better understand how fires spread and how ecosystems regrow. Funding for better fire science on the front end will help prevent us paying much higher costs down the line, in terms of money and lives. I am pleased the House has approved this amendment to give more funding to fire science.”
The Joint Fire Science Program was established in 1998 to support scientific research in wildfires and coordinate efforts between relevant federal agencies in the U.S. Department of Interior and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Over the past decade the program has repeatedly been cut, ultimately receiving only $3 million in Fiscal Year 2019. This is despite the growing number and increasing intensity of wildfires in California and the western United States in recent years.