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Arizona Heads Into Heart Of Fire Season Without FEMA Administrator

Published: Tuesday, June 6, 2017 - 5:05am

As temperatures increase this week around the state and with June typically the driest month, the risk of dangerous wildfires is rising rapidly.

We head into the heart of fire season without the federal government’s top emergency official.

The position of Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator remains unfilled at a critical time on the calendar.

Rachel Cleetus is a climate policy expert at the Union of Concerned Scientists.

“FEMA plays a vital role in disaster response and coordinating a variety of agencies including the Forest Service, the Department of the Interior, HUD and other agencies that help with emergency response. So, it is troubling," Cleetus said.

President Trump nominated former MIssissippi Emergency Management director Brock Long to the federal post in April and his nomination is due to be taken up this week in the Senate.

But dozens of other key government positions, including NOAA administrator, remain unappointed. 

States like Arizona also face cuts to programs that deal with recovery after disasters. The Trump administration has proposed zeroing out the budget for a Department of Housing and Urban Development program that helps communities rebuild.