A different approach to investment in firefighting workforce is needed. Budget cuts are reducing the number and quality of the on-the-ground firefighting workforce. Budget cuts always seem to land at the field more than at the national level.
Continued and increased investment in the firefighting workforce is necessary in order to maintain capacity to respond to wildfire as well as mitigate fire hazards. Declining investment in the firefighting workforce will lead to fewer firefighters on the ground, reduced safety, reduced capability at accomplishing local projects, and reduced initial attack success. In the long term we face a generation gap in the fire workforce available for future leadership of the program. This issue Impacts all agencies and organizations with wildland fire responsibilities – local, state, tribal, and federal.