Today my lovergirl texted me and asked if my job for the summer would be secure against the forced federal spending cuts coming from the White House.
There's lots of talk right now about sequester cuts and "shutting down the government."
I caught a snippet of some news channel where President Obama was talking about how these cuts will affect people like the janitors in the White House--the people who clean up after all the major political leaders of this country. He said that they will have cuts in their wages.
As a wildland firefighter I have worked for the Bureau of Land Management under the Department of the Interior. Funding for my job comes from the government and I am therefore a government employee. As this article mentions, wildland firefighters and other seasonal employees (such as recreational technicians, park guides, etc) may not have the opportunities that have previously been available because of budget cuts.
It's a scary thing to think about when your livelihood depends on a seasonal job like mine does.
I think the BLM, Forest Service, and Park Service will each take a toll with whatever sequester cuts are put in place. Last year my office wasn't allowed to hire as many resources as in previous years. One problem with this (other than the fact that several people went without a job) is the added pressure for those who are still employed. Last year the fire season for my district was insane. Grasses were dry. Humidity was low. And fires grew to thousands of acres. The few firefighters still working were then met with the pressure of filling the duties normally filled by twice as many resources. It put our firefighters, local towns and residents at a greater risk than normal because we didn't have the people to meet the work load.
I heard Obama mention that safety was his main priority. I hope that he doesn't just mean safety in terms of having a national guard to "protect" our country. I hope that wildland firefighters are included in his priorities, because if our fire crews have to take a toll by hiring fewer firefighters, our safety on the line and our communities involved in wildfires this summer will be at risk.
Here's to hoping for Safety First on all fronts--but especially for the wildland firefighters.