PHOENIX — At least three Arizona fire departments may not send crews to help fight wildfires this summer because they’re still owed for battling blazes across the West last year.
Issues at federal agencies that reimburse local fire departments that contribute firefighters are being blamed for holding up payments to several Arizona districts including Apache Junction, Bullhead City and Mohave Valley.
Payments that normally come within 30 to 90 days are almost a year overdue.
Local officials say that is hampering their operations and making them rethink about sending firefighters to tackle state and national blazes.
The Arizona Republic reports Apache Junction is still owed $285,000, while Bullhead City is owed $95,000 and Mohave Valley is owed $78,000.
Some fire chiefs say that they can’t carry the burden of extra costs.