So, there are technically 8 more days (next Friday) and untechnically 10 more days (8 plus the weekend) to reach and pass an agreement on another continuing resolution that funds the government. I'm not optimistic the House and Senate can reach such an agreement. If indeed the government shuts down, there will be huge impacts across the country. My immediate individual concern is obviously not getting paid for a bit, but beyond that, this could really hurt our ability to fight fire this year. March is the month you do lots of fire training in prep for the upcoming season. It's when you interview and hire seasonal firefighters, usually college kids that are willing to do hard work from June through September. It's when you take the engines out of mothballs, prep them, and fix stuff that needs fixing. It's when you replace worn hose and pumps and stock up on MREs and test radio communications. If we have a shutdown, I'll probably have to cancel the week-long course I'm scheduled to teach starting on 3/14. This is an introductory course designed to get new people qualified for certain positions within the Incident Command System. Without the training, they can't go out on fires and we probably lose that group of people until next year. (Lots of other training going on around the country as well.) With budget cuts that have reduced the number of employees in my office by about 25% between 2007 and the end of this fiscal year, we are already losing too many people skilled in fire operations. In fact, there is a proposal to totally change the way we operate because we no longer have the people to fill all the needed positions on incidents. To top it off, states are letting people go. The worst is CA who will hire no seasonal firefighters this year. That means non-Fed CA wildfires will have a much greater reliance on Fed fire crews than in the past, which could diminish our ability to respond on Fed lands. By May, we're predicted to have above normal danger for large fires in TX, NM, AZ, SoCal, and FL. If we're 2-3 weeks behind in hiring, prep, and training... well, it will be problematic.