The U.S. Forest Service is rethinking how it employs firefighters.
During a hearing of the House Interior and Environment Appropriations Subcommittee last week, Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen said the agency is considering shifting from a seasonal workforce to a full-time firefighting operation.
"We no longer have a fire season, we have a fire year," Christiansen said. "Additionally, we are working to really target and increase our outputs on treatments on the lands-hazardous fuels reductions."
Christiansen said the agency has been studying the idea of full-time firefighters for more than a year. It mirrors the Interior Department's proposed $50 million initiative to create "a more stable and permanent wildland firefighting workforce to better align with the challenges of prolonged periods of wildfire activity."
"The needs when I was a firefighter over 30 years ago is not the same that we have today," Christiansen said.
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