Tom & Bob: Thanks for your thoughts & links.
Bob: Re your final thoughts: "Perhaps it's time to start focusing our wealth and resources towards the disasters that are happening here instead building a new nuke arsenal or the next generation of super jet."
I agree that our wildland fire programs need way more than current funding, both for fire prevention programs & for better suppression of fires that start. For those that worry about stealing money from the military, I would submit that Americans & especially wealthier Americans are paying historically low income taxes. I for one, would not object to paying another percent or two in taxes, if it lowers the fire toll & reduces our annual fire-smoke suffer-fest.
Bob: I opened & enlarged your Boise National Forest fire history PDF & was shocked & appalled that more than half of the forest has burned since 1990. I found only 5 large fires that burned prior to 1990. The pro-fire advocates have forced a century's worth, or more, of fires on us since 1990 & they want to have us take still more "fire medicine" to make up for the 85 years that the Forest Service suppressed all fires.
I do not advocate putting out all wildfires immediately, but I believe our fire policies need to be more balanced than the current "all wildfires are good, unless they impact private property" policy. Unfortunatley, a large part of the informed public now hold thoughts about wildfires similar to those expressed by one of my Facebook friends: "It's the full suppression strategy that has caused these huge raging fires. If the forest had been allowed to burn naturally the whole time this wouldn't be happening. We need to get things back on track. It's going to take a very very long time."
I sigh for her brainwashed naivety.