Bigger Threat, Smaller Force

With forest-fire season approaching, the U.S. faces a manpower problem

With wildfire season starting, concerns are mounting in the Western states that fire fighters could be overmatched. Last July alone, 40,000 acres were destroyed from eastern San Diego County to Yosemite National Park. This summer, experts say, the destruction could be even worse, with the Pacific Northwest suffering its worst drought in 28 years and record winter rains in the Southwest growing lots of grass, which can fuel flames when the grass dries out.

One fear is that too many National Guard troops trained to fight wildfires have been sent to Iraq and Afghanistan. About half of Montana's 3,500 Guard troops...

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