Thanks to climate change, we may need to get used to budget shortfalls. On average, Montana is now warmer and drier than it was in the 1970s, and the Union of Concerned Scientists estimates that wildfire season is two months longer as a result.
The costs of wildfire fighting have skyrocketed too — up fourfold nationwide in just the past 20 years. In 2013, Montana spent $57 million to fight fires. This year, we’ve already spent $44.5 million, and we still have a lot dry, hot days ahead of us.
Climate inaction is expensive, and we will continue to pay for years to come. For the future of our state’s wildlands — and our state budget — I hope that U.S. Sens. Jon Tester and Steve Daines will continue to fund common-sense climate change programs in the federal budget this year.