VIDEO: Harder Pushes for Federal Pay for California Volunteer Firefighters
WASHINGTON — Today, Representative Josh Harder (CA-10) pushed U.S. Forest Service Chief Victoria Christiansen to increase federal support for California volunteer firefighters in advance of another catastrophic fire season. In recent weeks, Rep. Harder has heard from numerous volunteer firefighters concerned that they cannot afford to take time off their regular jobs to fight fires due to the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Central Valley firefighters have reported receiving state reimbursements for fighting fires on state land, but not receiving reimbursement from the federal government for fighting fires on federal land.
“What can we do in this budget to better support volunteer firefighters and hopefully reimburse them more for all the time that they’re taking off, especially if the fire season continues to expand?” asked Rep. Harder.
In her response, U.S. Forest Service Chief Victoria Christiansen committed to assessing the issue and said, “[Volunteer firefighters] definitely should be getting paid for their services on federal land. No doubt. No question about that.”
Rep. Harder will continue to advocate for supporting volunteer firefighters. Click here for video from today’s hearing available for public use.