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 to create "a more stable and permanent wildland firefighting workforce to better align with the challenges of prolonged periods of wildfire activity."
The Forest Service says it currently employs more than , most of whom are seasonal workers. And the agency already spends about combating wildfires.
"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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