PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The government shutdown is taking a toll on a wildfire fight that hasn’t even started yet.
Wildfire training courses are being canceled, piles of dead trees are left untended in federal forests and controlled burns to thin fire-prone forests aren’t happening.
The winter months are critical for fire managers who use the break to prepare for the next onslaught of flames and much of that work has ground to a halt on federal land because of job furloughs.
Wildfire managers are worried about hiring, training and forest management as the shutdown drags into a fourth week.
And although the furloughs only affect federal employees, the collaborative nature of wildland firefighting means the pain of the shutdown is having a ripple effect.