Discretionary Spending Limit Adjustment
The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018 was enacted on March 23, 2018, and contained a provision termed the “Wildfire and Disaster Funding Adjustment”. This provision did two things by amending section 251 of the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985:
(1) The Act increases the amount that may be designated as “disaster” by adding a new definition for the ten-year average level by which disaster funding is calculated.
(2) The Act creates a wildfire suppression spending limit adjustment that allows the spending limit to be increased for such suppression activities.
Wildfire Suppression Disaster Budget Cap Adjustment
This wildfire suppression budget cap adjustment covers a ten-year period from fiscal yea 2020 through 2027. The ten-year average is set at the fiscal year 2015 amounts for fire fighting activities, $1.011 billion for Forest Service and $384 million for Department of the Interior. This amount is set as the “maintenance of effort” level, and must be appropriated for the from within the discretionary spending limit in order to trigger the adjustment. The overall spending limit may be adjusted upward for the purpose of wildfire suppression by $2.25 billion in fiscal year 2020, and rises to $2.95 billion for fiscal year 2027.
Annual reports are required under the law, to provide Congress with information regarding fire suppression events, spending and the method by which decisions are made.