Pine beetles and drought is leaving Wyoming and other states more susceptible to wildfires than at any point in recent memory, yet the federal fire policy doesn’t seem to be keeping up with the new climate. Wyoming lawmakers are trying to solve the problem.
With wildfires becoming larger and more expensive every year, the federal government is proposing new ways to fund fighting them. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a press conference Tuesday that even though $50 million more has been budgeted this year than last year for wildfires, they’re expecting a shortfall of up to a $1.5 billion if wildfires rage out of control in California and in the northwest like they did last year.
Vilsack says wildfire management has exceeded its budget in half of the last 14 fire seasons.
Researchers with the University of Utah have discovered a large magma reservoir underneath the Yellowstone National Park caldera. In a report released Thursday, they say the new area lies 12 miles underground, below a shallower well-known magma chamber.
Researcher Robert Smith is a co-author of the study and says his team used a geologic CT scan to discover the reservoir that’s filled with a mass of hot porous rock, rather than the typical magma. He says the new finding solves a puzzle of the Yellowstone volcano system.