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U.S. Forest Service Crews Ramp Up For Fire Weather Despite Shutdown

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LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A partial shutdown of the federal government is not expected to affect fire response times during red flag conditions in Southern California, according to a report Thursday.

KNX 1070’s Pete Demetriou reports despite furloughs and closures at federal agencies nationwide, the U.S. Forest Service will be on standby.

The National Weather Service issued a red flag warning that will be in effect for the bulk of Los Angeles County, with the exception of the Antelope Valley, from 9 p.m. Thursday through 6 p.m. Sunday.

The greatest fire weather threat will likely be across Ventura and Los Angeles counties, according to forecasters.

The Los Angeles Fire Department issued the following statement, along with a map of brush clearance zones:

“As a result of the anticipated increased winds and lowering relative humidity, the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) will pre-deploy additional resources at 8:00 PM on October 3rd, 2013. These additional firefighters will be placed at select Neighborhood Fire Stations serving high hazard brush areas. These Fire Stations include: 8, 19, 23, 28, 35, 41, 44, 47, 74, 83, 84, 78, 94, 98, and 109. The specific stations/locations are based on fire experience, area access and fire potential.”

(credit: LAFD)

(credit: LAFD)

While city and county fire departments are unaffected by the budget battles in Washington, some have wondered whether the shutdown would hinder federal firefighters from responding in the event of a wildfire in the Angeles National Forest, the Santa Monica Conservancy, or other U.S.-owned land.

But since U.S. Forest Service fire crews are considered essential services, some stations plan to increase deployment over the weekend in the event of a fire breaking out.

It remains unclear whether they will have the support of U.S. firefighting aircraft, since those services are arranged through national contracts. However, mutual aid pacts could go into effect and bring into city or county air support if needed.

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