Budget cuts leave Alabama Forestry Commission locations understaffed

Budget cuts are forcing the Alabama Forestry Commission to deal with a smaller workforce during October and November, a time in the year they say they are busy fighting wildfires.

The Shelby County and Talladega County Alabama Forestry locations do not have any staff at their offices.

Alabama Forestry Commission Regional Forester Jason Dockery tells CBS 42 they usually have two or three people at each of these locations. Though equipment remains in those counties, neither location has had a staff since the spring.

If there is a fire, they will have to bring in AFC staff from other counties. They also rely on volunteer fire departments.

“I am hopeful in the near future I will have some ability to get approval to hire some staff in Talladega County long term,” Dockery said. “I am hopeful, eventually, to be able to bring this area back to full staff but the budget will be the deciding factor.”

Dockery says they are about seven people short at locations in the Birmingham area.

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