U.S. SENATE — U.S. Senators Steve Daines (R-Mont.) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) introduced a bipartisan bill, the “Wildland Firefighter Recognition Act,” to support wildland firefighters. The bipartisan bill would require the Office of Personnel Management to create a job series for wildland firefighters that would help with recruitment efforts and boost morale.
“In recent years Montana’s wildland firefighters have faced more intense challenges,” Daines said. “This bill will strengthen our preparedness for future wildfires and ensure we are recruiting and retaining the folks who are willing to put their lives on the line to protect Montana families and communities.”
“Federal wildland firefighters put their lives at risk to protect us from deadly wildfires. However, they often work for relatively low salaries and aren’t fairly compensated for their dangerous work,” Feinstein stated. “Our bill would create a new job series for federal wildland firefighters to more accurately reflect the hazardous nature of the jobs they perform.”
This bill would officially change the job series title from “forestry technician” to “wildland firefighter.”
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Last wildfire season was intense and caused severe damage to forests, property, and even loss of life. Over 35 people died and over 4,000 properties were destroyed as wildfires burned across the West. Over 30,000 wildland firefighters and military were mobilized to fight fires throughout Montana, California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho and other states. This season is expected to bring similar challenges.
Daines first introduced this legislation in the 116th Congress.