Avalanche forecasters required to work during shutdown

Slab avalanche in the Boulder Mountains. Courtesy: Sawtooth Avalanche Center
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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Avalanche forecasters in Utah are among those required to report for work with no guarantee of pay during a partial government shutdown.

The Salt Lake Tribune reports the shutdown during the winter comes at a time when the work of the 50 total seasonal avalanche forecasters employed by the U.S. Forest Service is particularly important. They are required to work because their work is considered lifesaving.

Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest supervisor Dave Whittekiend says the eight forecasters in Utah unexpectedly received paychecks this week, but the future remains unclear.

Skiers, snowboards and snowmobilers rely on Utah Avalanche Center advisories for safe travel in the backcountry

Director Mark Staples says forecasters are glad to be working despite the uncertainty.

The majority of the Forest Service workforce remains on furlough during the shutdown.

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