University of Montana fire researchers have to cancel a major workshop because federal participants can’t attend due to the government shutdown.
The three-day conference set for Jan. 29 was to include fire managers from the Forest Service, National Park Service, and Bureau of Land Management as well as state, academic and non-governmental organizations.
“We have plane tickets purchased, and we’re going to have to eat $150 change fees if they can come at another time,” said Phil Higuera, the program leader and assistant professor at UM’s Franke College of Forestry and Conservation. “We have hotel blocks and meeting space reserved, and we have to move all that. And the thing is, it’s all federally funded. The whole point is to help fire managers doing their jobs by doing science and transferring that science into their hands.”
President Donald Trump ordered most of the federal government closed on Dec. 22 after Congress would not provide $5.7 billion for construction of a wall on the border with Mexico before the government’s spending authority expired.