Forest Service temporarily ‘insulated’ from impact of federal budget sequestration

Here’s a link to this article (from the Fremont County Ranger, below is an excerpt.

Local U.S. Forest Service officials say they won’t be negatively effected by federal budget sequestration, but only because of additional funding that came from Congress last year.
“That money … basically insulated us from the impact of the 5 percent (sequester) cut,” district ranger Steve Schacht said Thursday.
“So in this fiscal year we’re not going to see an impact … except in fuels potentially.”
Schacht said the Forest Service may hire fewer seasonal employees this season, leaving regular staff to bear more fire prevention responsibilities that include monitoring flammable fuels.
The U.S. Department of Agri-culture estimated the Forest Service will complete as many as 200,000 fewer acres of hazardous fuel treatments.
“If the trend continues we’re going to see fewer standing firefighters on each unit,” Schacht said.
“But we’re not seeing that im-pact this year. And they may make adjustments at different levels in the agency in order to offset that.”
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, $134 million will be cut from the U.S. Forest Service for wildland fire management due to sequestration.
The reduction in funds reportedly would result in an appropriated funding level that is $42 million below the calculated 10 year average for fire suppression costs for fiscal year 2013.
The National Forest Service will see a $78 million cut according to the USDA, leading to a reduction in activities like forest and watershed restoration, grazing and mining. Jobs reportedly will be lost, and campgrounds and other recreational offerings may be shut down.

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