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Shutdown halts controlled burns after Trump called for more of them

State of the Union delayed amid shutdown
State of the Union delayed amid shutdown 14:54

The partial government shutdown is keeping U.S. Forest Service employees off the clock and halting controlled burns on federal land ahead of the next fire season, CBS Sacramento reports.

The shutdown comes just months after President Trump toured the Camp Fire burn zone in Northern California in November. 

"There's great people that live here, and it's unfair to put them through this so often," Mr. Trump said, speaking to reporters at a press conference during the visit. 

He later issued an executive order calling for more controlled burns on federal land. That executive order still stands, but no federal workers are available to carry it out.

"There's no funding to support that work to happen right now, no government employees out doing that work," said Don Hankins, a professor at California State University, Chico who specializes in controlled burns to prevent out-of-control wildfires. "There's a big irony there, I think."

Forest Service dispatcher Sarah Cote, who works in California's Eldorado National Forest, said it's "a very important time of the year for burning."

"If it wasn't for the shutdown we would be doing controlled burns right now," Cote said. "Right now we have limited staffing."

Hankins said the window to carry out most controlled burns closes at the end of May. The longer the shutdown lasts, the more burns will need to be squeezed into a shorter window. 

Thursday marked the 34th day of the government shutdown, which is the longest in U.S. history. 

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