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Advocates urge passage of wildland firefighter pay bill in Congress

Melissa Sevigny
Wildland firefighters conduct a prescribed burn in northern Arizona.

Advocates for wildland firefighters are urging Congress to pass a bill that would prevent across-the-board pay cuts.

The group called Grassroots Wildland Firefighters say a bipartisan U.S. Senate bill would avoid what they’ve termed the “firefighter fiscal cliff.”

The 2021 infrastructure law temporarily raised, pay it expires Oct. 1.

The Wildland Firefighter Pay Protection Act would make those raises permanent and the group wants more lawmakers to back the bill to avoid major impacts to the workforce.

Fire agencies throughout the country have struggled with recruitment and retention in recent years because of low pay and benefits and as working conditions have become more stressful amid worsening wildfires in the West.