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In YAHOO News' "The Fire Line" NFFE Members Matt Guzman and Jeremy Blake Discuss Life as Wildland firefighters (VIDEO)

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

(National Federation of Federal Employees)

Wildland firefighters Matt Guzman and Jeremy Blake of NFFE Local 2023 were interviewed recently and featured in a video for Yahoo News, highlighting the work that the U.S. Forest Service is doing to prepare for the 2019 fire season which is now underway.   Last year was the deadliest fire season in California’s history claiming the lives of more than 100 people, and some experts fear this year may be worse.

As Firefighters Guzman and Blake report in the video, wildland firefighters are not your typical firefighters who show up when you dial 911. Wildland firefighters are federal employees tasked with protecting and maintaining federal lands before, during, and after each fire season.  A great deal of planning and preparation is required for each fire season, and no two years are identical as weather patterns and other environmental factors shift the hazards from one region to another across the country.

“Wildfire season in the United States usually starts late April and goes until the end of October. I’d say within the last five or six years, it seems like fire season is 365 days a year,” stated Firefighter Guzman. “Unfortunately, in the past decade or so, it seems like the fires are getting much bigger, faster. They become harder to manage,” Firefighter Blake added.

“We are exceptionally proud of our Forest Service wildland firefighters,” stated NFFE National President Randy Erwin in response to the video.  “Wildland firefighters never seem to get enough credit for what they do and for the dangers they face because most of their work is in hard to reach places, away from the general public and the cameras.  Nevertheless, they are a critical part of saving lives and property every year.”

The US Forest Service employees about 30,000 employees, including 10,000 wildland firefighters.

Watch the clip below to hear from Guzman and Blake and other FS Firefighters about the work they do each day to maintain our country’s federal land and protect citizens who live near forests and other fire prone areas.

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