Daines Praises Firefighters for Heroism, Continues to Work on Pay Raise
Montana Senator Steve Daines hopes a joint resolution of Congress shows the nation's appreciation of wildland firefighters at the end of another hectic season.
But he also says it shows the determination to address the issue of firefighters being underpaid, which he hopes will be addressed with new legislation.
The joint bi-partisan resolution was approved in late November and is an effort to acknowledge firefighters here in the Northern Rockies, and across the country, for their bravery and hard work.
"These folks are heroes," Daines told us. "They're putting their lives on the line without hesitation. They protect our families across Montana. They protect our communities. They protect structures and as you know we're coming out of another devastating wildfire season. And I'm very glad and honored to recognize their bravery, their sacrifice, and their heroism."
Daines notes the scale of the challenges in these recent hotter, drier years, noting that 20-thousand firefighters fought blazes across over 7 million acres in the West this year.
"The battle continues. You know we're fighting on their behalf because they're fighting the fires in the frontlines for us, and we're fighting for them to ensure they have the resources and the support they need.
"To ensure they're receiving fair compensation, a bill I've introduced with Senator Feinstein, a Democrat from California. It's the Wildland Firefighter Fair Pay Act. It's hard to attract firefighters, and it's hard to retain them. We want to make sure that pay is not one of the issues that, either where we fail in recruiting or fail in retention. We've got to get that addressed."