Idaho confronts climate change with money to protect forests

Wildfires Idaho Budget
Posted at 3:46 PM, Jan 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-11 17:48:07-05

BOISE, Idaho — Gov. Brad Little proposed a budget that adds more firefighters as well as another $150 million for future firefighting costs.

The proposal comes as increasingly destructive Idaho wildfires that the state's Republican governor blames in part on climate change. Little included the money in his proposed budget unveiled Monday to start the 2022 legislative session. The budget includes a 21% general fund increase for the Idaho Department of Lands to hire eight fire engine bosses, three fire management officers and more on-the-ground firefighters.

Related: State of the State: Gov. Brad Little announces 'Leading Idaho' plan, details surplus and education spending

The state agency had one of its worst wildfire seasons in 2021, with six times the amount of acreage burned in areas it protects, costing some $75 million.