There’s an old expression that God made man – and then he made a few firefighters. Firefighters are some of the bravest men and women among us, and the backbones of our communities, protecting our homes, businesses, schools, and families from catastrophe.
Federal firefighters used to get paid $13 an hour – but that ended in my administration. Last summer, we bumped up wildland firefighter pay to $15 an hour, a critical first step. I also fought for and secured historic investments in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to give America’s federal firefighters the pay, respect, and dignity they deserve. Today, my administration is announcing additional steps to increase pay for our nation’s federal firefighters, as well as expanding access to mental health support and creating more career pathways in wildland firefighting.
Today’s new steps, already paid for by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, will temporarily put back pay into firefighter’s pockets, increasing their bi-weekly checks by up to 50% of their annual base salary for two years. But we know there is more work to do, especially as climate change fuels more wildfires. I will do everything in my power, including working with Congress to secure long-term funding, to make sure these heroes keep earning the paychecks – and dignity – they deserve.