Anchorage fire chief warns of budget cut consequences

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) – The chief of the Anchorage Fire Department is warning that response times to emergencies in outlying hillside neighborhoods may increase if budget cuts under consideration are approved.

Anchorage television station KTVA reports Mayor Ethan Berkowitz is seeking a cut of $2.4 million in the fire department budget.

Chief Jodie Hettrick says that would be a reduction of nearly 3 percent from the fire department’s $99 million budget and would be on top of other recent cuts.

She says there’s the only things left to cut in the fire department budget are positions.

Hillside Community Council Chairman Bruce Vergason says he’s worried about fires that could spread.

He says the only thing that prevents a major wildland fire during a windstorm is a speedy response.