From Fort Worth Star Telegram:
As the Texas Forest Service battles what may be the state’s most destructive wildfire outbreak ever, state lawmakers are facing criticism that they have has taken a penny-wise-pound-foolish approach to funding the agency.
Texas is one of the few states that rely primarily on volunteer fire departments to protect rural areas from wildfires. About 330 firefighters with the forest service traditionally serve as a second tier of defense when such fires get larger than the local department can handle.
The Legislature cut the agency’s funding this year to $83 million from $117 million, according to Robby DeWitt, the forest service’s associate finance director.
Chris Barron, executive director of the State Firemen’s and Fire Marshals’ Association of Texas, said: “It’s very frustrating that they don’t have the proper tools and resources to fight these fires. If fire departments had enough funding, if the forest service had enough funding, we wouldn’t be in this predicament over each and every year.”
The issue is drawing more attention in part because of the sheer scope of the Central Texas wildfire, which has destroyed more than 1,500 homes and killed at least two people. There’s also a new political component as critics charge that the budget cuts are proof that the fiscal restraint Gov. Rick Perry is touting on the presidential campaign trail comes at a price.
Perry’s office did not respond to a request for comment Thursday. Perry has previously said that his push this year to preserve billions in the rainy day fund was partly in case of a natural disaster. FEMA has begun approving requests for aid.
I’d say since some policymakers believe anthropogenic global warming is apparently unsettled science (not the scientists though ), and adjustment to changed weather  better than dealing with greenhouse gas emissions, cuts in NOAA and the weather service  would be a good place to find additional budgetary savings at the Federal level. [That’s sarcasm, for those who have difficulty detecting it.]