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Forest Service Forged Ahead With Hiring Through Shutdown

Not wanting to fall behind, the U.S. Forest Service used money laid aside in order to keep up their hiring efforts through the government shutdown.

Posted: Feb 1, 2019 5:42 PM
Updated: Feb 1, 2019 5:58 PM

MEDFORD, Ore. — Despite being one of many government agencies left unfunded when the partial government shutdown began at the end of December, the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) said on Friday that they were able to keep hiring new workers throughout that time — theoretically meaning that they aren't behind schedule on preparing for summer fires.

"The Forest Service made the decision to continue moving forward with permanent & temporary hiring processes during the government shutdown due to the time critical nature of the work," the agency said. "We used prior year funding to pay some of the employees working on this effort."

Those new employees still won't start until March to mid-May — so the USFS remains on track for fire and field season "for the most part."

Nevertheless, the past week has been a busy one for the Forest Service. Beginning on January 20, several agency experts traveled to Wenatchee, Washington to start hiring permanent wildland firefighters. Then, more representatives started working with a team in Bend to prepare for temporary hires.

On Monday, representatives from every national forest in Oregon and Washington gathered in Springfield to kick-start those temporary hires — looking over 5,800 applications across the two states, 600 more than last year, USFS said.

One major boon has been a hiring policy change — the agency advertised their jobs for a month this year. Last year those positions were only up for a week.

Over the next two weeks, USFS Pacific Northwest will make 1,500 temporary job offers across the region. 114 of those positions will be with the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest. 65 of those jobs are specific to firefighting positions.

"Temporary positions specific to fire included filling vacancies on engine, hotshot and helitack crews, vacancies in fuels reduction and fire prevention and staffing two lookouts (near Prospect and Jacksonville)," the agency said.

Rogue River-Siskiyou is also hiring 23 permanent firefighting positions — including fuels specialists and technicians, hand crew members, engine operators, helicopter foreman, several apprentices and a tanker base tech.

USFS said that there were a few permanent hires that were delayed by the shutdown, but they will be "prioritized and processed by HR."

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 348766

Reported Deaths: 4161
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Multnomah54797689
Washington37988313
Marion36055444
Clackamas29094304
Lane26966298
Jackson22632300
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Umatilla14241144
Linn12380120
Douglas11795240
Josephine9233195
Yamhill8517110
Klamath7709110
Polk715380
Malheur551574
Benton529130
Coos489691
Columbia371343
Jefferson361450
Union313146
Lincoln310638
Wasco281540
Crook274745
Clatsop239529
Baker198028
Tillamook193328
Hood River188337
Morrow181623
Curry178122
Harney108424
Grant97612
Lake89011
Wallowa67012
Gilliam1484
Sherman1463
Wheeler991
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 4810222

Reported Deaths: 70598
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles147569426398
Riverside3693444990
San Diego3636444159
San Bernardino3563155566
Orange3227415518
Sacramento1576212279
Santa Clara1445181890
Kern1441461605
Fresno1441232051
Alameda1198871372
San Joaquin1018071708
Ventura1005241164
Contra Costa99234982
Stanislaus851571315
Tulare78945951
San Francisco54031645
San Mateo53828622
Monterey50696582
Solano45761334
Santa Barbara44836521
Merced41781577
Sonoma40711402
Placer38902415
Imperial35642764
Kings32369314
San Luis Obispo29653329
Madera23518281
Butte23364260
Shasta23360334
Santa Cruz20861218
Yolo20147247
Marin17581243
El Dorado16960149
Sutter13775169
Napa12808100
Yuba994282
Tehama9298104
Humboldt9102108
Nevada903990
Mendocino752786
Lassen746346
San Benito737372
Tuolumne673993
Lake6506104
Amador537264
Siskiyou442742
Glenn430330
Calaveras381780
Del Norte356141
Colusa301718
Inyo196739
Mono16445
Plumas15756
Mariposa127315
Trinity86011
Modoc6698
Unassigned1860
Sierra1760
Alpine1020
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