A U.S. Forest Service firefighter crew arrives at the scene where flames from the Caldor fire threaten to jump highway 50 in Meyers, Calif., on Aug. 31, 2021. Credit: Josh Edelson / AFP / Getty

At the height of fire season and amid record shattering temperatures, a bipartisan group of senators led by Kyrsten Sinema (I-Az.), has framed a new bill related to firefighter pay as a boon for the wildland workforce. In reality, the bill would result in a major pay cut to federal firefighters who saw their wages increase under President Joe Biden’s infrastructure bill. 

The 2021 law included a temporary but significant increase in firefighters’ take-home pay: 50 percent or $20,000, depending on a worker’s pay grade. That boost is set to lapse in September, and lawmakers have introduced the Wildland Firefighter Paycheck Protection Act to soften the blow. The bill would split the difference between the pay wildland firefighters received prior to 2021 and their increased wages of the last two years. 

There are tens of thousands of federal firefighters spread across the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau […]

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