Sen. Merkley supports increased firefighter pay, presses for year-round forestry jobs

Sen. Merkley supports increased firefighter pay, presses for year-round forestry jobs


By:  Alan Matthews

EUGENE, Ore. - On Tuesday, the Biden administration announced plans to increase federal wildland firefighter pay as required by the bipartisan infrastructure law.

This move is part of a series of steps that also includes the establishment of a new wildland fire management job series.

Last week, senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden sent a letter to the office of personnel management for the immediate implementation of these changes.

And while Senator Jeff Merkley welcomes this announcement, he says he would like to see more.

"Well I vigorously supported the increase in pay through the Appropriations committee that I serve on. Also, I've been arguing that we need to have year-round positions where folks, when they're not fighting fires, they can do work on forest management, thinning, or prescribed burns, mowing. And the intention is create a lot more year-round jobs. I think on both fronts it's a good move."

The administration also announced the creation of a program to support the health and wellbeing of firefighters.

Senator Merkley added it's important to support the firefighters as we enter into the peak of Oregon's wildfire season.