Down in southeast Georgia, the town of Ludowici is threatened by wildfires – one of several blazes cooking in the area. About 300 residents have been evacuated.
On Feb. 28, Robert Farris, head of the Georgia Forestry Commission, went before a House panel and testified about the impact of a 31 percent reduction in his budget since mid-2008.
You can watch his entire testimony before an economic development subcommittee here, but here are a few slices of a rough transcript:
”We’re estimating a $650,000 reduction in federal funds. Eighty-nine percent of those funds are fire-control funds….The forestry commission has been restructuring to meet the economic crisis. Since the first of ’09, we’ve eliminated state funding for 94 positions.
“Forty-nine of those have been fire control positions. We’ve closed 16 fire control offices statewide. We’ve expanded supervisor span of control, going 12 districts down to six districts….We’re reducing fire suppression vehicles and fire suppression