Rosen, Cortez Masto Call For Permanent Salary Increase for Wildland Firefighters in Government Funding Bill

Current Salary Increases For Federal Wildland Firefighters Are Temporary & Will Expire At End Of Month Without Action

WASHINGTON DC – Today, U.S. Senators Jacky Rosen (D-NV), a member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC), and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), a member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, sent a letter to Senate leaders urging them to include a permanent salary increase for federal wildland firefighters in any government funding package. While both Senators secured a temporary pay increase for these firefighters in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, various agencies have indicated that the pay-raise funding will be exhausted on September 30, lowering firefighter pay rates to an unacceptable level. 

“We request the urgent inclusion of a permanent salary increase for our federal wildland firefighters (WFFs) to any end-of-fiscal year appropriation package,” wrote the Senators. “Nevada is particularly vulnerable to the threats posed by wildfires. In fact, the Bureau of Land Management’s Nevada Fire and Aviation Unit is responsible for protecting more land than any other such unit in the lower 48 states.”

“Without legislative action, firefighter pay rates will return to a rate that is unsustainable and unacceptable,” they continued. “We urge you to include permanent firefighter pay provisions in the next major legislative package considered by Congress.”

The full letter can be found HERE.

Senators Rosen and Cortez Masto have been leading the charge to increase pay for our federal wildland firefighters. They helped include provisions in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to increase the pay of these firefighters and worked to ensure they were swiftly implemented. In July, Senator Rosen helped pass bipartisan legislation out of committee to make this pay raise for wildland firefighters permanent. Cortez Masto highlighted the urgency of making this pay raise permanent for Nevada firefighters during a Senate hearing ahead of wildfire season and is leading comprehensive legislation to prevent wildfires and help communities recover. Last year, both Senators introduced the National Wildland Fire Risk Reduction Program Act, which would improve sensing technologies towards wildfires and standardize data collection to improve our national response to these disasters.