House panel approves extra wildfire money

Daniel B. Wheeler dwheeler at
Thu Jul 11 23:02:06 EST 2002

lhfotoware at (Larry Harrell) wrote in message news:<7a90c754.0207111502.29c94f44 at>...
> July 11, 2002  The Arizona Republic
> Forest Service freezes funds 
> Costly fires mean delays for other work 
> By Judd Slivka, The Arizona Republic
> Blaming the most severe fire season in decades, the U.S. Forest
> Service is freezing all spending not directly related to fighting
> wildland fires or to day-to-day operations, according to a memo
> received Wednesday by Arizona officials.
> That means campgrounds that need work won't see repairs, Forest
> Service employee travel is halted, and pending contracts will be
> delayed until at least Oct. 1, when the agency receives its next round
> of funding from Congress.
> "If there's an environmental-impact study going on, you stop work on
> it," said Alice Forbes, Forest Service director of operations at the
> National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho. "The bottom line is
> that any kind of contract that hasn't been made official yet, we're
> not entering into it for a while. This is going to have a major impact
> all across the agency. And it's all because fire season started . . .
> early."
> The Forest Service originally had budgeted $321 million of its $4
> billion annual budget to fight fires this year. But costly blazes
> throughout the West over the past three months - the "Rodeo-Chediski"
> fire in east-central Arizona cost more than $43 million to fight -
> have raised the bar. At the end of June, the agency forecast that fire
> suppression for the year would cost $966 million, or nearly 25 percent
> of its annual budget.
> Comment: Will the USFS use me and my GS-7 ( $30,000 per year, if I
> worked all year long, which I don't ) wage in fire camps to pass out
> radios or issue equipment or will they use GS-11 ($40,000 to $60,000
> per year) folks, like usual? Fire camp jobs are cherished and hoarded
> by the local bigwigs as ways to make big overtime bucks from the
> fires. With budgets being funneled into fire suppression, can the
> taxpayers afford high-priced Forest Service "executives" to do fire
> camp jobs that anyone can do?
> Also, good thing ALL travel isn't banned.....I'd be walking back from
> South Dakota, reliving the Lewis and Clark expedition.
> Larry,  hoping bigwigs don't see this

Pointing out that fire expenditures are gravy for the camp fire folk,

BTW, will they now rename Arizona to Arid Zone-a? <hopeful G> Ya gotta
keep a sense of humor of this thing...the PNW is next. Sure glad we
got some rainfall last week.

Daniel B. Wheeler

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