Like Hoyer, Atkinson said the state can pay the firefighters who serve Yeager for the first seven days of the shutdown. After that, he said local officials would have to come up with another plan.
"We don't have an answer yet," he said.
But, Atkinson said, "We will not let the airport shut down because we don't have fire service."
However, he said the National Guard might be forced to cut back on the number of firefighters or hours of coverage provided to the airport.
"As this plays out, we'll have different contingency plans," he said. "We'll have something in place."
But Kanawha County Commission President Kent Carper said he won't tolerate cutbacks in fire protection for the airport. If federal officials don't end the shutdown and the National Guard can't afford to keep funding the firefighters at Yeager, he said the county would step in to provide the money.
"We will not allow the airport to go unprotected," he said. "We will not have one less firefighter there. Not one."
Reach Rusty Marks at rustyma...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1215.