WeatherFire Watch


Federal firefighters say low pay keeps them off the job

Forest Service firefighters start at $13.45
California Wildfires
Posted at 7:52 AM, Jun 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-05 10:52:27-04

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KERO) — Federal fire crews are struggling to keep stations staffed as the state deals with this year's fire season.

Some firefighters are saying that the pay is too low for federal employees. Forest Service firefighters start at $13.45 an hour, which is below California's minimum wage.

Union officials say crews are struggling to pay their rent, making it harder to stay despite the increased need.

"It's been really frustrating to watch these quality people that come in and really want to do this job, basically have to make a choice," said NFFE union representative Lani Brown.

Congressman Jerry Harder says he is currently working on legislation that would create incentives to pay crews more money and hire more people.