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Biden Proposes Increase in Federal Firefighter Pay

Credit: Unsplash

In recent years, the United States has witnessed increasingly severe wildfire seasons during the summer. These fires have grown in frequency and intensity, putting immense pressure on firefighters to contain them. With the onset of a new wildfire season and a change in administration at the White House, there is a growing call for firefighters to receive better compensation for their essential services.

President Joe Biden is set to confer with a group of governors from western states today to address the ongoing record-breaking heatwave, escalating droughts, and wildfires, and to strategize on how to combat these challenges effectively. As part of his wildfire action plan, Biden aims to not only expand the number of federally-employed firefighters but also significantly raise their wages.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary for federally-employed firefighters is approximately $55,000, with locally hired firefighters earning slightly more. These figures fall well below the 2019 US median household income of $68,703. Biden finds it unacceptable that these critical emergency workers are being compensated inadequately.

“In recent days alone, we have seen droughts and wildfires in the West,” remarked Biden. “I was surprised to learn that federal firefighters are paid $13 an hour. This will change during my administration.”

Biden intends to elevate federal firefighter wages to at least $15 per hour and sustain these wages in the long term rather than only during wildfire season. Additionally, he aims to have more federal employees trained in firefighting procedures to act as “surge capacity” when additional manpower is required to contain large fires. He also plans to allocate funds for the advancement of early fire detection technology.

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