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President Obama unveils new way to fight wildfires

Firefighters battle a wildfire in Cabazon, Calif.
Firefighters battle a wildfire in Cabazon, Calif.
Jae C. Hong/AP

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Next week, President Obama will unveil his budget for the coming year. But yesterday we got a preview of one change that could have a big effect in Western states, a shift in the way the federal government pays to fight wildfires.

Until now there was no emergency fund to fight the worst wildfires. The money had to be borrowed and moved around from other budgets. But the new plan acknowledges wildfires as a costly natural disaster. One that may become even more common with climate change.

For more on this we turn to Robert Bonnie, undersecretary for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which handles wildfires.