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Federal Wildfire Prevention Budget Cuts Protested In Senators' Letter

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In this Thursday, June 27, 2013 photo provided by the U.S. Forest Service, smoke is shown rising from the Silver Fire in in southern New Mexico's Gila National Forest. (AP Photo/Dyan Bone/U.S. Forest Service)
In this Thursday, June 27, 2013 photo provided by the U.S. Forest Service, smoke is shown rising from the Silver Fire in in southern New Mexico's Gila National Forest. (AP Photo/Dyan Bone/U.S. Forest Service)

DENVER -- A bipartisan group of U.S. Senators is urging the Obama administration to focus more on preventing wildfires.

The administration is proposing a 31 percent cut in funding for fire prevention programs one year after record blazes burned 9.3 million acres. The federal government routinely spends so much money fighting increasingly-destructive fires that it uses money meant to be spent on clearing potential fuels like dead trees and underbrush in national forests.

In a letter to the administration, four senators call the habit "nonsensical" and said it just leads to bigger fires. They also strongly object to the proposed budget cut.

The senators who signed the letter are U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore), U.S. Senator Mark Udall (D-Colo), U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and U.S. Senator James Risch (R-Idaho).

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