As the federal-government shutdown enters its 13th day, the Alaska Fire Service like numerous other federal agencies has run out of money and furloughed all but essential employees. And although wildfires are unlikely to bust out in the Interior anytime soon, the shutdown is hampering the Alaska Fire Service’s planning and preparation for the coming fire season.
“There’s a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes, even in December and January” said Tim Mowry, a spokesman for the Alaska Division of Forestry, the state firefighting agency that works closely with the federal Alaska Fire Service.
Mowry shares an office on Fort Wainwright with his federal counterparts, but he says he hasn’t seen them much for the past couple of weeks.
“Since the shutdown has happened, there’s essentially two employees here at the Alaska Fire Service – both state employees, myself and the state operations forester,” Mowry said.