Above: Three water-scooping air tankers, CL-415’s, at Redding, July 30, 2017. T-263 on the left and T-261 on the right. Photo by Ethan.
(Originally published at 1:07 p.m. MT February 19, 2018)
The budget recommended by President Trump for the U.S. Forest Service for Fiscal Year 2019 beginning in October includes stable numbers for wildland firefighters and cuts in fire aviation.
The FY19 firefighter numbers would be the same as in the two previous years, FY17 and FY18:
- 900 Engines
- 210 Dozers, Tractor Plows, and Water Tenders
- 67 Hot Shot Crews (1,340 firefighters)
- 7,940 other Firefighters
- 320 Smoke Jumpers
- 400 Fire Prevention Technicians
The firefighters above total 10,000, the same as in the last several years.
The only FY19 cuts recommended by the President to firefighting resources are in aviation:
- 28 Type 1 large Helicopters, down from 34 in FY17, and the same as in FY18.
- “Up to 18” Large Air Tankers, down from 20 in FY17 and up from 13 in FY18.
- No HC-130H Coast Guard/USFS converted air tankers, down from one. The President intends to abandon this program.
- No Water Scooping Air Tankers. There were two in FY17 and none in FY18.
These cuts are in spite of the fact that the number of acres burned annually in the United States continues to increase.
This recommended budget for the Forest Service is only a suggestion by the President. Congress is not obligated to respect his wishes and could do anything from passing a series of continuing resolutions locking in budget numbers from the previous year, to passing something completely different. Or, doing nothing and shutting down the government again.
Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Bean.
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