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The Bureau of Land Management on Friday announced a consolidation of regional wildfire-coordination efforts in Salt Lake City next year in a cost-saving move. BLM is combining the Eastern Great Basin and Western Great Basin coordination centers, currently headquartered in Salt Lake and Reno, Nev., in time for next year's fire season.
The new Great Basin Geographic Area Coordination Center will initially operate out of the Eastern Great Basin center's current location at 5500 West and Amelia Earhart Drive near the Salt Lake City International Airport. The moves will save $305,000 a year and affects Reno's five staff members, all of whom will be offered jobs at the Salt Lake center.
These centers, two of 11 around the nation, are responsible for mobilizing resources to manage wildland fires, prescribed fire and other all-hazard incidents in Nevada, Utah and southern Idaho, plus small portions of California, Wyoming and Arizona. The centers also provide intelligence and meteorological information to firefighters.
"Because technology has increased our ability to respond to those needs, we know if we get the right personnel, we will meet those needs without a hiccup," said Todd Richardson, Utah BLM's acting fire management officer.
Salt Lake City was chosen because locating there would displace fewer employees, who work for BLM, U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and pose lower start-up costs. The new center will be staffed with 16 positions.