The latest outbreak included a California inferno on the outskirts of Yosemite National Park that threatened more than 2, buildings and forced the evacuation of camps and remote rural homes.
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In central Idaho, a ,acre fire forced the evacuation of 1, homes in the Idaho resort areas of Ketchum and Sun Valley. With new fires breaking out this week, and nearly 18, people at work containing the blazes, the fire center was struggling to fill all requests for crews and equipment from areas where fires were burning out of control. Those costs are increasingly siphoning money from forestry management programs—like clearing timber and brush in high-risk areas—geared toward reducing the scope and severity of fires, according to Caitlyn Pollihan, executive director of the Western Forestry Leadership Coalition, a group of state and federal forestry management agencies.
This year, with money running out at the peak of the firefighting season, the U. A spokesman said the agency had enough money to cover just a few days of firefighting costs before making the transfer.
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The government has repeatedly diverted funds designated to thin national forests to prevent wildfires, despite a law known as the FLAME Act that dedicated funds for that purpose. Based on a review of detailed studies of the long-term economic impact of past fires, the group found that the total economic impact of a wildland blaze can run to as much as 30 times the cost of putting it out. Beyond the immediate expensive of repairing and replacing homes and other structures damaged or destroyed by fire, a full accounting of the long-term impact includes a host of other costs.
Direct losses—from crop or property damage to lost business—are fairly clear cut and often covered by insurance. Last year, for example, some 38 catastrophic wildfires in the U. Read more: 'Monster' California wildfire reaches ocean, pushes toward Malibu. Uncovered losses represent more than the cost of repairing or replacing an uninsured burned home or other structure. Homes that remain standing in badly burned neighbors may lose property value. A business near recreational parklands may survive the fire but succumb to the impact of lost tourist traffic. Wildfires also produce a series of indirect, short-term impacts that are often overlooked in a full accounting of the cost.
Health-care costs from people breathing smoke-filled air or the loss of safe drinking water are not usually accounted for, according to the coalition report. Long-term impacts also can be more difficult to tally in the case of wildfires because environmental damage can last for years or decades. Book Flights to Aachen. Book an Airbnb in Aachen. Book Flights to Dresden. Book an Airbnb in Dresden. Book Flights to Frankfurt. Book an Airbnb in Frankfurt. Book Flights to Berlin.
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