State Lawmakers Request Year-Round Federal Firefighting Response
Washington, DC — Citing that over 4.25 million acres burned in California last year, a list of leading lawmakers is requesting the federal government start staffing traditionally seasonal firefighters year-round.
The letter to the head of the USDA and the Department of the Interior was signed by Senators Dianne Feinstein and Alex Padilla and 21 California House members. You can read it by clicking here.
It states, “As California and the West continue to contend with historic and destructive wildfire seasons, it has become clear that we are entering a ‘new normal’ in which increasingly intense wildfires wreak havoc during a nearly year-round fire season.”
The letter adds that California saw 9,900 wildfires this past year, 33 related deaths and 10,500 homes destroyed.
It concludes by stating, “Transitioning to a larger, full-time workforce would add immediate capacity to fight wildfires and conduct prevention work nationwide, allow for greater flexibility in shifting personnel between regions when needed, support increased staff capacity to perform actions outside of the fire season that reduce fire risk, provide more stable work opportunities and employee benefits, increase employee retention, and reduce agency costs and burdens associated with the seasonal hiring process.”
The federal agencies have not indicated if they are planning to boost staffing levels.