The Biden administration announced on Wednesday 30th June that it is hiring more federal firefighters, and immediately raising their pay.
Officials are ramping up response efforts in the face of a severe drought that is setting the stage for another destructive summer of intense wildfires across the West. President Joe Biden announced the moves during a virtual meeting with governors from Western states and as a huge section of the Pacific Northwest endures one of the worst heat waves in recent memory.
“This is an area that has been under-resourced, but that’s going to change and we have to do it,″ Biden told the governors. “We can’t cut corners when it comes to managing our wildfires or supporting our firefighters. Right now we have to act and act fast.” President Biden recently expressed shock at the $13 hourly wage paid to many federal firefighters.
“That’s gonna end in my administration,” he said last week during a briefing in the Oval Office, banging the table for emphasis. “That’s a ridiculously low salary to pay federal firefighters.” Officials at the National Interagency Fire Centre recently said they face a potential shortage of firefighters in 2021 because the starting salary is too low and people could make more working for a local business than fighting wild land blazes.
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: KTLA.COM
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