Rio Bravo Hotshots in 2018. Kern County Fire Department photo.The southern California-based Rio Bravo Type 1 Hotshot crew has been defunded. The Kern County Board of Supervisors announced in a press release earlier this month, “Rio Bravo Crew 7 will be unstaffed for 2020 due to budget constraints.” This was the only county-funded hotshot crew in the United States. All others are part of state or federal organizations.Abby Bolt wrote about cutting the crew in her “Up in Flames” blog June 18. Here is an excerpt:…Over the past few months rumors have been floating around in local firehouses with an assumption that Rio Bravo’s 2020 fate would be inevitable. The combination of low interest and motivation for KCFD firefighters to adapt to seasonal hotshot crew schedule and culture, low moral, and budget cuts created the perfect storm. Another important note is not just any Kern County Firefighter can supervise a Hotshot crew. There are a number of wildland qualifications that must be met by crew leadership which are not easy to attain.The U.S. Forest Service maintains a list of Hotshot crews on their website.
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Author: Bill Gabbert
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