Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger says the budget impasse is now compromising California's forest firefighting capabilities.
Maybe that's because it's the same line Gov. Gray Davis - for whom Schwarzenegger chief of staff Susan Kennedy was a top adviser - used in 2002.
"The Assembly Republicans are literally putting firefighter operations at risk, putting security operations at risk," said Davis at the time.
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Then-Assemblyman Dave Cox, who is now one of the 15 holdout state senators, called it a "false" warning in 2002.
"There has never been a situation where these critical services were prevented from being deployed," Cox told the Union-Tribune.
Fast forward to 2007, and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection notified the administration Wednesday that seven of 300 vendors have declined to do business with the state until it has a budget. Among the seven are vendors who provide parts for the state's fleet of aircraft.
The state declined to release the names of those vendors.
Chief of Aviation Mike Padilla said the department hasn't reached crisis but they felt it was necessary to raise concerns. "It could create a problem," he said.
The state has 23 S2T turbine air tankers for dropping water, 14 OV-10 Bronco observation aircraft, and 11 UH-1H "Super Huey" helicopters used for initial fire attack on wildfires.
Assistant Deputy Director Scott Holmquist said technicians are having to manufacture parts, such as washers and rivets, instead of just ordering more parts.
Currently state fire fighters are assisting in at least two wildfires: the three-week-old Zaca fire in Santa Barbara County that has burned over 30,000 acres and a fire in the Klamath National Forest near the Oregon border.
The administration is ready to issue an emergency order to ensure the agency has adequate resources and personnel at any point during the wildfire season.