The fire service in Essex is braced for a 10% cut in its budget.
Essex Fire and Rescue said cuts to frontline services were possible. A 10% budget cut would cost the service about £7.5m, fire chiefs said.
Deputy chief fire officer Gordon Hunter believes some savings can be found from trimming back office services but they are also looking at frontline services.
Essex Fire Brigades Union said they were surprised at the announcement on the eve of talks about changes.
Industrial relations had begun to improve, a spokesman said.
"We look forward to reaching a negotiated settlement to the current dispute in the very near future and hope this can lead to a more cooperative approach in dealing with the review," he said.