Washington Crew Boss' Criminal Charges Worry Wildland Fire Groups

Several groups voiced concerns that the government's decision will result in less-qualified wildland firefighting personnel.

"I don't have any evidence either way," she said. "There is no data that says this is happening and no crystal ball that says it will."

Davis also said the Forest Service hasn't had any problems filling classes, but wouldn't speculate on the effect of the charges on interest.

Mangan said the change may not be seen in data and that the number of firefighters may not decrease, but that the amount of experience will. This is why he believes the decision to file criminal charges against Daniels will ultimately change the culture of wildland firefighting.

"Whatever happens right now, people are going to go about their actions more carefully and with a much more cautious eye," he said. "There's no payoff to taking risks; there's no payoff to being aggressive. People (in the industry) are very concerned and very worried and rightfully so."