Senator’s letter – backed by a bipartisan group of senators – comes as federal land management agencies continue to lose thousands of wildland firefighters, causing staffing shortages over the last few years
WASHINGTON – Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema, joined by a bipartisan group of senators, urged the administration to establish a special pay rate for federal wildland firefighters to prevent staffing shortages as fire season begins and wildfires continue to spread throughout Northern Arizona.
“Wildland firefighters are fighting more dangerous, intense, and long fires each year – putting their own lives at severe risk to keep Arizona communities safe. They should be paid fairly,” said Sinema.
Due to an outdated U.S. government policy, federal wildland firefighters are severely underpaid, in comparison to other state and local fire services. With wildfires growing more intense and dangerous each year, combined with low pay and other working condition issues, federal land management agencies are faced with major recruitment and retention problems.
In March, Sinema met with the National Federation of Federal Employees (NFFE) Federal Wildland Firefighters where she discussed the pay rate, staffing, and working conditions of federal wildland firefighters. Sinema will continue finding bipartisan solutions that support wildland firefighters and the communities they protect.
Last week, Sinema saw firsthand the Tunnel Fire and Crooks Fire in Coconino County and received briefings for each fire from the U.S. Forest Service. During her briefings, Sinema discussed how her bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs law makes historic investments for wildfire mitigation.
Click HERE to read Sinema’s bipartisan letter.