The monstrous flames ripping through Northern California in recent days have burned communities to the ground, killed dozens of people caught in their path and wreaked havoc on a regional economy.
By almost any metric, that would be defined as a natural disaster — except the one used by Congress to draw up the federal budget.
The absurd way in which Washington pays to put out wildfires throughout the West is making a dangerous situation even more so. It’s a rare point of bipartisan agreement in Congress that a fix is urgently needed, particularly as fires grow in duration and intensity.
But as with so much else on Capitol Hill, politics and ideology have left a serious...