Thursday, June 12, 2008

California: Staffing shortages in USFS

An excerpt from a lengthy article in the Press-Enterprise:
Washington Bureau

Roughly a third of California's fleet of federal fire engines is currently unavailable due to staffing shortages, according to figures supplied by a group that represents U.S. Forest Service crews.

Statewide, only 186 of the agency's 276 engines were ready to respond to fires as of Friday, according to a report created by fire officials and released by the Federal Wildland Fire Service Association.

The number of available engines fluctuates daily as staffing levels vary slightly, said Casey Judd, the group's business manager.

Thirty-two percent of federal engines were not staffed Friday, underscoring the magnitude of a firefighter retention problem that the agency's top officials have downplayed, Judd said.

"There's nobody to go to these fires," he said. "As a result, fires that should be put out will grow in size, intensity and, ultimately, cost."

Federal fire officials said they are moving quickly to put several dozen more engines into service in the state by late June. Meanwhile, they said, the agency is ready for the approaching fire season.

1 comment:

Bjørn Ivar said...

The Froland fire in Norway is now extinguished, and only a small ground crew remain at the site. 6500 acres were burned, mostly high value forest that were ready for timber harvest.
An unprecedented number of helicopters were involved in the firefighting, 16 helicopters were involved at once. 7 Eurocopter AS350, 6 RNoAF Bell 412, 1 SeaKing, 1 SuperPuma and one Bell 214B1 Biglifter.
40 km of firehoses of different sizes, and 50 portable firepumps were in use during the fire. Personell from the army and the civil defence helped the professional firefighters to fight the wildfire.
The norwegian goverment have agreed to cover most of the costs regarding to this fire, and by doing this they saved Froland, a municipality of only 5000 people, from bankruptcy. Firefighting, including fighting wildfires, is usualy beeing covered my the local municipality.

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