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Cost Concerns Slowed Resources During Station Fire

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(credit: AP Photo/Dan Steinberg)

(credit: AP Photo/Dan Steinberg)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Federal investigators say concerns over firefighting costs slowed the U.S. Forest Service’s initial response to last year’s deadly 250-square-mile Southern California wildfire that killed two firefighters and destroyed 89 homes.

A review by the Agriculture Department, which runs the Forest Service, cites a letter before the Station Fire instructing managers to limit requests for crews, aircraft and equipment from state and local agencies.

Forest Service officials have insisted cost concerns never impeded the response.

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The Los Angeles Times says the federal review shows the Forest Service decided to concentrate on protecting homes and the communications towers and observatory on Mt. Wilson rather than staging a sustained direct assault on the backcountry front spreading into Angeles National Forest.

(© Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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