LaMalfa, DeSaulnier introduce bill to recognize wildland firefighters

Congressman Doug LaMalfa issued the following statement after introducing the Federal Wildland Firefighter Recognition Act with Congressman Mark DeSaulnier. This bill directs the Office of Personnel Management to develop a separate and distinct Wildland Firefighter occupational series for employees whose main duties and responsibilities are preparing for, reducing fuels for, and the suppression of wildfires.

LaMalfa said: “Each year, thousands of firefighters risk their lives to protect our forests and property from wildfire destruction,” LaMalfa said. “Despite their dedication, federal agencies call them ‘Wildland Technicians’ or ‘Forestry Technicians’ — vague terms that don’t reflect the scope of their job.

“The Federal Wildland Firefighter Recognition Act changes federal law to name these first responders ‘Wildland Firefighters,’ a recognition that they have dutifully earned. When a disastrous wildfire strikes, Wildland Firefighters put it out, and they deserve our utmost respect.”

“As we have seen during the historic wildfires across our region in recent weeks, fire season in California continues to grow longer and more destructive as extreme weather becomes more common,” said DeSaulnier. “The dedicated women and men who put themselves in harm’s way to protect our communities are asked to do more and more, and giving them the proper recognition as ‘Wildland Firefighters’ would accurately reflect the level of public service they provide to keep us all safe, especially during the coronavirus pandemic.”