Following a controversial decision in 2012 to launch an "aggressive initial attack” on all wildfires, however small, the US Forest Service spent $1.3 billion fighting fires, some $400 million over budget. OnEarth notes the return to progressive fire management for the 2013 season as good news for the taxpayers, firefighters and the environment:
This year, it appears the agency is moving back toward what ecologists and fire scientists have considered the best practices for almost 40 years now: fires that are sparked in remote wilderness, where they aren’t hurting anyone, should be allowed to burn. That’s because fire, as a natural part of the environment, is good for the ecosystem. Some essential animal and plant species actually thrive in fire-ravaged landscapes, and by thinning out excess timber and clearing out dry underbrush, small forest fires can help prevent large and deadlier blazes in the future.