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Budget cuts impact wildfire fighting

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) - With the temperatures ramping up it's time to start thinking about wildfire season. Right now the outlook is "severe" across much of the western United States.
SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) - With the temperatures ramping up it's time to start thinking about wildfire season. Right now the outlook is "severe" across much of the western United States.

Federal officials say this year will be a challenging year when it comes to fighting them after budget cuts in Washington.

“As a result of sequester and across the board cuts, we'll have about 500 fewer fire fighters at the Forest Service than we would otherwise have,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “That may impact about 50 engines than we would other wise have.”

Those smaller resources are preparing to take on a big problem. Forecasters say a lack of precipitation across the west means above average fire potential in the mountain states.

Utah has experienced lower than normal snowpack-- only 70 to 85 percent throughout many sections.

But if there is a bright spot for Utah, forecasters say lighter fire fuels will cut down on the amount of fires.

The government is asking residents to do their part to prevent wildfires. For more information, click here.

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