Obama, governors huddle on wildfires

President Obama met Monday with governors from Western states to discuss wildfire preparedness, a day after the White House revealed his upcoming budget would change how the government funds wildfire suppression.

The president and the bipartisan group of eight governors discussed the severe drought affecting Western states, with Obama pledging to provide support to states affected by wildfires, the White House said in a statement.

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Obama also outlined his plan that would change how wildlife suppression is funded by the federal government. Under the president's plan, severe fire activity, wildfires near urban areas, and abnormal active fire seasons would be funded outside discretionary budget cups, similar to other natural disasters.

“In recent years, including both of the last two years, the Department of Agriculture and the Department of the Interior have been forced to rely on short sighted transfers from non-suppression programs in order to fund excess fire suppression activities,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said.

“What that means is this undermines other important functions including critical force management and fire risk reduction activities,” he continued. “In other words, you're taking from funding that would help manage forests and reduce fires in the future in order to suppress existing fires.”

Obama also briefed the governors on his Climate Action plan, which outlines administrative actions the White House plans to take to curb the effects of climate change.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, and presidential counselor John Podesta were among the senior administration officials joining Obama in the meeting.