Daines to Biden: Vaccine Mandates Could Impact MT Wildland Firefighters, Wildfire Response

U.S. SENATE — U.S. Senator Steve Daines is calling on Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to reassess the vaccine mandate for Montana firefighters that could inhibit effective forest management and wildfire response in the state.

“In their roles, these federal wildland firefighters also coordinate emergency responses with state, local, and tribal partners, and are the tip of the spear to combat ongoing wildfire threats. As President Joe Biden stated earlier this year, ‘we’ve got to be prepared and have every resource available to make sure we’re there for the American people.’ The full availability of these federal firefighters is imperative to the health and safety of our federal lands and the communities near those lands. Therefore, we seek to assess the consequences of President Biden’s recent vaccination mandates on the staffing of USDA and DOI wildland firefighters…” the letter states.

“We are concerned the COVID-19 vaccine mandate for federal employees may adversely affect the number of wildland firefighters serving at USDA and DOI. Coupled with other factors contributing to the depletion of federal firefighter ranks and the lack of management fueling longer, more severe wildfire seasons, President Biden’s actions may exacerbate challenges in the ongoing effort to combat wildfires,” the letter continues.

Read the full letter HERE

On October 12, Neptune Aviation wrote to Daines expressing the burden Biden’s mandate would put on its workforce and firefighting capabilities. Read the letter HERE.



While Daines is pro-vaccine and supports Montanans talking to their doctors about safe, effective and free COVID-19 vaccines, he is anti-mandate. 

On Monday, Daines urged President Biden to rescind COVID-19 vaccine mandates which will hurt Montana businesses and threaten the livelihoods of Montana workers.

In October, Daines cosponsored a bill, the “Stop Vaccine Mandates Act,” to rescind President Biden’s executive order mandating federal contractors and workers to get a COVID-19 vaccine. Read the bill text HERE. 

On October 18, 2021, Daines cosponsored bills to protect Montana workers, small businesses from Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

On September 16, 2021, Daines slammed President Biden for his top-down vaccine mandate, and questioned its constitutionality.



Contact: Katherine McKeoghKatie Schoettler