Daines, Lankford Introduce Bill to Streamline Ability to Hire Wildland Firefighters

U.S. SENATE – U.S. Senators Steve Daines (R-Mont.) and James Lankford (R-Okla.) introduced the “Direct Hire to Fight Fires Act” that would provide the Forest Service and the Department of the Interior (DOI) permanent Direct Hire Authority to streamline the hiring process for skilled personnel in the firefighting or firefighting support capacity. The bill also directs the Forest Service and DOI to identify policies and propose changes to reduce the time and complexity of hiring wildland firefighters and support personnel.

“Year after year, our Montana communities are devastated by wildfires and our brave firefighters’ response to these fires protects lives and our public forests,”Daines said. “I’m proud to introduce this legislation to make it easier to hire the most skilled wildland firefighting personal in a timely manner to help keep our communities safe.”

“Bureaucracy should not prevent us from quickly responding to wildfires. When disaster strikes, the families and communities don’t want to hear that government red tape got in the way of hiring the necessary amount of people to stop the fires,”said Lankford.“Senator Daines, Representative Issa, and I are working to remove the red tape so we can streamline the hiring process for wildland firefighters and their support teams so that we can respond swiftly when disaster strikes.”

Congressman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) introduced the companion bill to this legislation in the House of Representatives.

“An indispensable strategy in taking on the severe fires we know are on the way is to deploy the necessary personnel to take on these blazes wherever they occur and bring them under control more comprehensively than ever,” said Rep. Issa. “With this new hiring authority, our federal agencies can bring together the teams of firefighters we need to hold the line, halt the destruction, and save lives and property that are too often lost forever.” Issa said. 

Full text of the bill is available here

To see more of Daines’ extensive work fighting for wildland firefighters and protecting our forests, click here.