Obama wildfire proposal could help timber industry

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APPLETON, Wis. (AP) -- President Barack Obama is proposing using disaster funds to help fight wildfires to avoid draining forestry budgets, a move that could help boost Wisconsin's timber industry.

Gannett Wisconsin Media reports about half of the nation's forestry budget is devoted to fighting wildfires, up from 20 percent decades ago.

Brian Deese is deputy director of the White House Office of Management and Budget. He said Tuesday that the president's plan wouldn't increase spending, but would let the Department of Agriculture draw on existing disaster funds to fight wildfires.

Deese says the agriculture and interior departments have been shifting money from other services to fight wildfires.

Rep. Paul Ryan opposes the plan. The Janesville Republican known for his work on the budget says what's needed is more money to fight wildfires.

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