BUSINESS + ECONOMY

Federal firefighters on verge of quitting unless given a raise

Jul 17, 2023, 7:30 PM | Updated: 8:55 pm

Federal firefighters on verge of quitting...

As wildfire risk grows, more federal firefighters could quit their jobs if they don't see a pay raise soon. REDLANDS, CA - JULY 15: A firefighter is followed by fast-rising flames while using a drip torch to set a backfire to fight the Edgemont fire on July 15, 2006 near Redlands, California. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

(Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY — Thousands of federal firefighters are on the verge of quitting just as fire season heats up.

Staffing issues and salaries have been a concern for these firefighters for some time now. The National Federation of Federal Employees tells NBC News if Congress can’t extend or pass a pay raise, 30% to 50% of federal firefighters could go elsewhere.

Brett Ostler, the State Fire Management Officer for the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands says this could have a big impact on Utah.

“We rely heavily on our partners who help us fight fire in Utah,” Ostler says. “Without all of our partners, it makes things real difficult.”

Additionally, Ostler says Utah is well-staffed on its own. However, even losing a couple of outside bodies could cost one firetruck on a scene.

The Biden Administration previously passed a temporary raise for wildland firefighters worth up to $20,000 However, that raise is set to expire in September.

Devin Oldroyd contributed to this story.

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Federal firefighters on verge of quitting unless given a raise