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Wildfire Operations Unaffected By Trump Administration's 'Media Blackout,' Hiring Freeze

Inciweb/National Wildfire Coordinating Group
Inciweb/National Wildfire Coordinating Group
A National Interagency Fire Center spokeswoman says a hiring freeze will not affect firefighting operations.

People who work for several federal agencies have scrambled in the early days of the Trump administration. They’re responding to orders that freeze hiring. Some orders to limit communication with the public have since been pulled back.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture and Department of the Interior were two agencies that received a memo limiting external communications. They oversee wildfire operations.

Jessica Gardetto is a spokesperson at the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise. She said the orders will not affect firefighting operations.

“Fire requires such timely updates and such timely information on a consistent basis that our fire communications, we really don’t think they are going to change,” she said.

But the impact of a federal hiring freeze is still unclear.

“We do know that the hiring freeze memo does allow for the head of any executive department or agency to exempt positions that are necessary to meet national security or public safety responsibilities,” Gardetto said.

Gardetto said NIFC officials are “awaiting further guidance” from the federal Office of Personnel Management as they evaluate the necessity of firefighting positions.