Federal budget cuts hit Saguaro National Park

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Arizona is in themiddle of wildfire season, and one of the main attractions in the Tucson areahas less protection.

Saguaro National Parksays cuts from the federal budget have left it short, the cuts mean that theNational Park is losing $180,000, about five percent of its budget.

A spokesperson fromthe Park says it is trying to make the cuts in ways the public does notsee.  Buffelgrass cleanup crews have fewerstaff to oversee the work.  The Park isalso unable to hire someone for the 'after hours' law enforcement position; norare they able to hire a full time back country ranger, that person responds tothe lightning strikes, checks smoke and is usually the first line of defense tocatch forest fires.

Meanwhile, PresidentObama's administration says automatic budget cuts have not yet affected thefederal government's ability to fight wildfires.

Yesterday two membersof the administration said the cuts have only affected things like travel andsupply expenses and potentially could affect prevention and preparedness.

Officials have alsohad to cut some night programs this summer, like the star gazing and moonlightguided hikes.

Despite this thereis still a priority on offering programs for the public whenever possible,including some this weekend.

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