The Forest Service isn’t hiring as many firefighters this year, compared to years past. That’s according to the agency’s top official. Tom Tidwell testified before Congress earlier this week. He said there will be five hundred fewer firefighters this year. That’s because of sequestration, or mandatory budget cuts. Bill Kight is with the White River National Forest. Aspen Public Radio asked whether those budget cuts will mean fewer firefighters for the Forest.
“Uh no, not really, we’re in good shape this year. We’re about the same number of folks we had last year.”
“I think the agencies at the Washington level have mitigated it for the firefighters.”
Chris Farinetti oversees the collaboration between different agencies that fight fire in the Roaring Fork Valley and and surrounding area.
“It looks like our numbers are about normal. We have about a hundred firefighter types on our organization chart now, and that’s historically about what we have.
That covers the Forest Service and Bureau of Land management offices in the region. Farinetti says the word on the street is firefighter cuts could become more severe in the coming years.