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California Faces a Firefighter Shortage Amid Fire Season

As wildfire season receives a head start in Northern California and looms south of the state, fire departments are facing a statewide personnel shortage, authorities say. Newport Beach Fire Chief Jeff Boyles said California’s staffing shortage of firefighting personnel is leading to overworked firefighters. “We hold them for three, four days in a row, sometimes five days in a row,” Boyles told The Epoch Times. “We let them go home for a day or two and then they come back for another three, four, or five days and they’re burning out. As a chief, I must watch their morale, watch their mental health, their physical health. [If] they are still exhausted, they can’t perform.” The shortage began during the initial outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic due to hiring delays and freezes. With budget constraints being cut last year, personnel close to retirement were offered early exit plans. As many eligible firefighters …

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