Legislation aimed at providing funding to combat wildfires and destructive pests like the southern pine beetle passed Senate committee Wednesday.
SB 231 by Sen. Steve Livingston, R-Scottsboro, would increase the annual appropriation for the Emergency Forest Fire, Insect and Disease Fund from $180,000 to $250,000. The measure would increase the accumulated cap for the fund from $1 million to $2 million.
The Alabama Forestry Commission (AFC) estimates wildfires in fall 2016 cost the state an additional $1.5 million in man-hours and equipment costs. Last year, AFC reported more than 2,000 locations around the state with pine beetle damage, up from 700 the previous year.
The bill passed the Senate Finance and Taxation General Fund Committee 15-0. It awaits action in the full Senate. (Federation Supports)