Thursday, September 14, 2023

Wildland Firefighters could see 50 percent pay cuts in two weeks

 Wildland firefighters are at risk of salary cuts as the clock ticks down on federal funding approved two years ago. If nothing is done within the next two weeks, these first responders across Arizona could lose thousands of dollars a year.

In 2021, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law temporarily increased wildland firefighters’ base pay by $20,000 or 50%, whichever is smaller. It also increased hourly pay from $13 to $15. “They dedicate so much of their lives doing the most dangerous, difficult work that’s available in our country, and they do it because they have a passion,” Senator Kyrsten Sinema said.

But this temporary pay increase could all be reversed in October when funding runs out. Sinema has bipartisan support for her Wildland Firefighter Paycheck Protection Act, which would protect current pay rates, but it’s all about timing. “The challenge we face is really just moving forward to just finish the budget process in the next two weeks,” she said...more

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