NFFE Applauds Bipartisan Effort in the House to Permanently Stop the Wildland Firefighter Pay Cliff

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Contact: Matt Dorsey
Phone: 202-550-6987

June 28, 2024

Washington, D.C. – Today, the National Federation of Federal Employees (NFFE) applauds the inclusion of language from the Wildland Firefighter Paycheck Protection Act (WFPPA) to codify permanent pay increases in the House interior subcommittee appropriations bill that was marked up and reported favorably this morning.

“The vibrant and bipartisan support for federal wildland firefighters demonstrated in the subcommittee’s session this morning was incredible to see,” stated NFFE National President Randy Erwin.  “In no uncertain terms, Republicans and Democrats came together to prevent a major blow to the nation’s federal wildland fire services.

Chairman Mike Simpson, Ranking Member Chellie Pingree, and members of the subcommittee from both parties supported the inclusion of a permanent solution to stop a devastating pay cliff that is on the minds of every wildland firefighter, their families, and the people within the communities that they protect.

If passed into law, the language will make permanent a new pay scale for federal wildland firefighters based on an emergency increase to pay authorized through a 2021 law.  Without this permanent fix, firefighters would endure a pay cut as high as 50% of base pay, up to $20,000.  The bill also includes a modification to pay regulations that recognizes the 24/7 work schedule of wildland firefighters who are deployed for weeks at a time on fires, floods, search and rescue missions, prescribed burns, and more, mostly in remote areas.

“With the growing intensity of wildland fire seasons, as a country we cannot afford to lose experienced firefighters to state and local fire departments because their pay becomes untenable,” continued Erwin.  “It should be evident to every member of Congress that the wildfire crisis is not slowing down any time soon, so a permanent solution to wildland firefighter pay needs to happen and it needs to happen very soon.”