Tree Frog Forestry News

Federal shutdown has halted some preparations for wildfires, and it could get worse

By Stuart Leavenworth
McClatchy Washington Bureau
January 9, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States

Training has been halted for thousands of western firefighters. The U.S. Forest Service can’t award contracts for needed equipment. In forests across the West, no federal employees are doing work to reduce dry “fuel” that feeds catastrophic blazes. These are some of the impacts of the 19-day federal shutdown on federal firefighters, and experts say the situation could quickly worsen. If the shutdown drags out for several more weeks, federal fire crews won’t be ready for the months ahead… “This is the second year in a row we’ve had a shutdown right in the middle of the (firefighter) training season,” said Jim Whittington, … who runs an Oregon-based crisis management consulting firm, Whittington & Associates. “The last thing we want is for fires to break out, and not have the kind of crews we need…” …Even without the shutdown, firefighters were facing an increasingly compressed “window” to prepare for the upcoming fire season, Whittington said. 

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