About two-dozen veteran firefighters who spent months battling a series of wildfires across the West have been ordered to return thousands of dollars in overtime pay. The firefighters, who work for various federal and state agencies, have been told they exceeded their salary limits. Federal law restricts firefighter pay to about $121,000 a year.
Officials are working with the firefighters to try and figure out a way for them to keep their overtime pay. Since federal law mandates a payback, some officials are saying the firefighters may have to return the money, but will receive it in another form of reimbursement.
The two-dozen firefighters are some of the most seasoned – and highest-paid -in the National Park Service, Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management. These fire manager’s travel from incident to incident, managing thousands of firefighters.