The shortage is part of an ongoing dilemma as the government struggles to budget and plan for longer, more severe fire seasons.
The five-week partial government shutdown fell during a critical window for fire-prone states to lessen the impact of the coming fire season through prescribed burns.
Some states have halted training and may be underprepared for the 2019 fire season.
Prescribed burning achieves the same end goal as fuel reduction, but without the manual effort of combing through the entire West.
While agencies in California can shine a spotlight on fancy new firefighting technology, their peers in places like South Carolina often make do with much less.
Far above the rough terrain where wildfires thrive, satellite and aerial technology is being used to give firefighters on the ground the big picture.
As decades of flawed and unscientific fire investigation techniques call arson convictions into question, new recipes emerge for a system-wide overhaul.