|Copyright:||(c) 2011 High Country News|
AS TAXPAYERS ACROSS THE COUNTRY cover the multimillion-dollar costs of protecting private residences from wildfires, subsidizing people who choose to live near combustible wildlands,
In 2003, the
"The state has long been looking for a stable funding position for emergency response," says
But the new fee may run afoul of
No other state has passed similar fire-fee legislation, although some have authority to compel homeowners to reduce fire danger on their property;
Insurance companies also require homeowners to at least reduce the fire risk on property located in the so-called wildland-urban interface.
Given climate change and the continuing development of wildfireprone areas, government agencies in the future might have to spend several billion dollars a year defending those houses, according to
"The risk is growing. We absolutely have the potential for multibillion (dollar) megacatastrophes from wildfire."