Some 14,000 federal wildland firefighters of the Agriculture and Interior departments are receiving a pay boost to assure that they are earning at least $15 an hour, those departments have announced.
The increase had been previewed earlier as part of the Biden administration initiative to set that rate as a floor for federal employees. The increase is effective as of June 30 and “in addition, all temporary frontline firefighters will receive a $1,300 award and all permanent frontline firefighters up to GS-9 will receive an award equal to 10% of six months of their base pay,” a joint announcement says.
“Both departments are also investing in developing a stable, professional, permanent firefighting workforce capable of suppression activities and fuels management work on a year-round basis,” it says.
The NFFE union, which represents many of the firefighters, praised the action, saying “No federal firefighter deserves to be paid less than $15 an hour and we are glad that the federal government is correcting this injustice. However, we agree with the White House that wildland firefighters need more resources to combat the fire crisis, which is being exacerbated by climate change.”