A group of Senators called on Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to consider wildland firefighter pay reforms. Led by Colorado Democrat Michael Bennet, the lawmakers seek advancement of permanent, comprehensive pay reform for the country’s wildland firefighters as temporary pay increases are set to end.
Short-term pay increases for over 22,000 federal firefighters will run out this week unless Congress takes action. In a letter, the senators note the increasing threat posed by wildfires in the U.S. and issues that have contributed to firefighter recruitment and retention challenges in recent years – including low pay, unaffordable housing, and strain on their mental health.
The lawmakers say, “Firefighters deserve fair pay, support for their mental and physical health, and time to recover from their dangerous work.” They conclude by urging Schumer to move forward on permanent, comprehensive pay reform in line with the President’s Budget Request for Fiscal Year 2024 and the Wildland Firefighter Paycheck Protection Act.