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Biden Proposes Salary Increase for Federal Firefighters

Credit: Unsplash

In recent years, the United States has witnessed increasingly severe wildfire seasons during the summer. Fires have grown more frequent and intense, pushing firefighters to their limits to contain the blazes. With a new wildfire season approaching and a new administration in office, there is a call for firefighters to receive higher compensation for their crucial services.

President Joe Biden is set to convene with a group of governors from western states to address the current heatwave, escalating drought conditions, and the rising frequency of wildfires. As part of his strategy to tackle wildfire challenges, Biden aims to bolster the number of federally-employed firefighters and, notably, enhance their salaries.

On average, federally-hired firefighters earn around $55,000 per year, while locally recruited firefighters may make slightly more. This figure falls well below the 2019 US median household income of $68,703, prompting Biden to deem the low wages unacceptable for these essential emergency responders.

“In recent days, we have witnessed droughts and wildfires in the West,” remarked Biden. “I was not aware, I must confess, that federal firefighters are paid $13 an hour. This practice will cease during my administration.”

Biden’s plan involves elevating federal firefighter wages to a minimum of $15 per hour and ensuring sustained wages in the long term, rather than just during wildfire peaks. Additionally, he aims to have more federal staff trained in firefighting protocols as “surge capacity” for situations demanding additional manpower to contain large fires, and allocate funds toward the advancement of early fire detection technology.

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