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GVFD decline to assist other states fight wildfires until paymen - KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

GVFD decline to assist other states fight wildfires until payment

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GREEN VALLEY -

Green Valley Firefighters are declining to assist other states fight wildfires.  Officials say its because they still haven't been paid for last year's assistance.
Now the department is hoping pressure from the governor can get the government to pay up.

"A couple of calls have come from California and a couple from Colorado. As you're aware Colorado is having a pretty extreme wildland fire season and we've declined response," L.T. Pratt Green Valley Fire District Public Information Officer said.

He says their department still hasn't been paid the $108,000 for assisting in fighting last years wildfires in California, Montana and Oregon.

"It's come to a point where we have to evaluate every fire, every call for assistance individually. That's unfortunate," Pratt said.

Governor Doug Ducey also asking for payment by writing a letter to U.S. Secretaries Sonny Perdue and Ryan Zinkie asking for the federal government to reimburse the state $10 million that will go back into the Budget Stabilization Fund.

“Continuing to partner with the federal government in ensuring Arizona’s local fire departments have the necessary resources to combat wildfires this season remains of the utmost importance for public safety,” said Governor Ducey. “For this reason, I am reaching out to Secretary Perdue and Secretary Zinke to request their cooperation in establishing a process for the quick repayment of outstanding funds both now and going forward.”

So far Arizona has billed the federal government about $7.5 million and is in the process of billing the government another $2.5 million. That leaves $3.2 million additionally that Arizona still has to pay out to local cooperators that have responded to federal fire incidents. Since Arizona's $10 million fund has been exhausted, local agencies like Green Valley Fire will have to wait for the federal government to reimburse the state to get the money they're owed. 

"Right now I'm sitting at 108,000 that's on my books. Do I continue to send people out in the fear of running that amount even higher," Pratt said.

For now Green Valley Firefighters are hoping the government reimburses the state quickly so that they can help other states this wildfire season.

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