Montana Wildland Firefighters are Receiving Significant Raises
The meteoric rise in the cost of doing business, any business, with an emphasis on labor expenses, is no big secret.
Presumably, there will be widespread support for the increased compensation that a very special labor force in Montana is going to receive. That announcement comes from the office of Montana Senator Jon Tester.
Yesterday (Tuesday), the first day of summer, 2022, the Biden Administration approved new pay raises and training support for Montana Wildland Firefighters. That money will be coming from a bipartisan jobs act that Senator Tester helped to negotiate in 2021. These firefighters can expect some retroactive compensation as well higher pay grades put into place for at least the next two years.
According to this week's release from Senator Tester's office, the senator stated:
"For too long, Montana’s wildland firefighters have been overworked and underpaid. With wildfires becoming all too common in our state, it’s critical that our brave first responders have the resources and support they need to continue protecting our communities and public lands, while staying safe themselves.”
In the next few months, firefighters’ pay will increase retroactively up to $20,000 for services performed from October, 2021 to September, 2023. The jobs act from which the compensation is being provided will also include programs for firefighter mental heath support and stress management.
The legislation also places an emphasis on increased staffing and recruitment of more wildland firefighters.
Increased wages, more support and more resources sound like a win, win, win. And while we may be off to a slower than usual start in 2022, predictions are for Montana to experience another severe wildfire season.
We close with a thank you to all those brave individuals who are out in the field doing dangerous work to protect Montana's lands. May this legislation help add more more people to your ranks!
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