Wyden, Others, Call For Better Pay For Firefighters

A bipartisan group of lawmakers is calling on Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack and Interior Secretary Deb Haaland to establish a special pay rate for federal wildland firefighters. Oregon Senator Ron Wyden said such a move would help avert critical staffing shortages ahead of the 2022 fire season. Lawmakers sent a letter this week, saying years of low pay and other issues have “hollowed out the federal wildland firefighting workforce.”

The letter said, in part, “by using existing authority to establish a special pay rate for federal wildland firefighters, we can directly address the recruitment and retention crisis, and ensure that the professional capabilities of our wildland firefighters are recognized.

The lawmakers’ noted how years of low pay and other issues have hollowed out the federal wildland firefighting workforce to the point that 1,800 jobs could not be filled. Other senators that signed the letter include Idaho’s Mike Crapo and Jim Risch, as well as Steve Daines from Montana.

Click Here to read the entire letter.

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