The price Utah and other Western states pay to fight forest fires could increase by millions of dollars if budget proposals by the Reagan administration are approved.
Under a deficit-trimming plan, up to two-thirds of the expense of fighting fires on federal lands would be charged against federal timber and mineral income before those funds are split with the states.In fiscal 1990 the costs the states would be asked to pick up would be $166.5 million. Utah's share of mineral revenues was estimated at $32.6 million, of which $5.5 million would go to a revolving firefighting fund.
The state had income of about $395,000 in timber revenues in 1987, but those funds were pledged to acquire additional forest lands. Little or no direct effect would be felt from allocating part of such income to firefighting.