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US departments urged to become year-round wildfire agencies

Bond Fire in Orange County
Posted at 7:12 AM, Mar 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-30 10:12:07-04

LOS ANGELES (AP) — California’s U.S. senators and 21 representatives asked the departments of Agriculture and Interior to transition their agencies to a year-round wildland workforce because conflagrations are no longer limited to traditional fire seasons.

The move would require reclassifying more seasonal federal firefighter positions as permanent.

The letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Interior Secretary Deb Haaland says California and the West are entering a new normal in which increasingly intense wildfires wreak havoc during a nearly year-round fire season.

Last year, more than 9,900 fires burned 4.25 million acres, killed 33 people and destroyed nearly 10,500 homes and other buildings.