Let it burn, says the Tea Party.
ShutterstockLet it burn, says the Tea Party.

Tea Partiers who watched gleefully as the sequester slashed government spending are welcome to douse forest fires near their homes with teapots full of Earl Grey this summer. Across-the-board budget cuts mean federal wildfire fighting efforts could be overwhelmed.

The U.S. Forest Service will hire 500 fewer firefighters this year and 50 fewer fire engines will be available than previously expected, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced this week. The Interior Department also plans to pare back its firefighting crews.

Hot and Bothered - small x  200
Susie Cagle

The seasonal firefighting jobs are going up in smoke because of Congress’s inability to come up with a national spending plan. President Obama called for spending cuts and tax increases to help balance the budget, but Republicans would have none of the latter.

Limited personnel and equipment will be prioritized to the parched West and Southwest. That will leave the East Coast vulnerable, though the Forest Service says it will do what it can to shift the spending cuts to other places if needed.