October 18, 2021

As wildfires rage, lawmaker proposes legislation to raise firefighter pay

As wildfire seasons grow longer and more deadly, Congress is taking steps to ease the immense pressure on federal firefighters battling the blazes.

"The reality is these wildfires are not going away. They are going to get worse, and it is up to us to take the steps now to try and mitigate the harm and the damage in the future and to compensate and protect those firefighters who are being asked to do more and more with each passing year," said Rep. Joe Neguse, D-Colo., the co-chair of the Congressional Bipartisan Wildfire Caucus.

Neguse is proposing a bill to address some of those issues by raising federal firefighters' pay to at least $20 an hour, ensuring health care and increasing paid leave and retirement benefits. The bill, which is set to be introduced Tuesday, also includes funding for housing assistance and tuition assistance.

By:  Haley Talbot and Julie Tsirkin
Source: NBC News