Letters to the Editor: Federal firefighters will get $15 an hour? They deserve at least what California pays

An air tanker drops retardant in an effort to stop the advancing Lava Fire near Weed, Calif., on June 28.
(Scott Stoddard / Associated Press)

To the editor: I was shocked to see how little the federally employed firefighters working in California make — $13 per hour. The stress is through the roof out there in the dark with fire all around you. Bumping the pay up to $15, as President Biden is doing, is not even close to enough.

These men and women put themselves in the most dangerous situations to protect people they do not even know.

How do I know what it is like? My company has been involved in large animal fire evacuations in Los Angeles and Ventura counties since 2003. Most of the animals I move belong to my clients, but it doesn’t matter if I know them or not — when animals are in the line of a fire, we move them.


The people who make decisions on what to pay federal firefighters should come work one fire with us and see just how hard and scary it can be.

Tita Brown, Santa Clarita


To the editor: Federal firefighter pay must be increased beyond $15. It has to be at least $25, about the average of what the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection pays.

Federal firefighters in California are covered in poison oak blisters and wasp stings, and they are breathing toxic smoke at the Lava fire. They have been working hard in 100-degree heat.

Fifteen dollars is not enough for people who are risking their lives to protect federal property. We need to do the right thing and bring all federal firefighters up to $25 an hour, at least so all vacant positions can be filled.

Nobody should risk their life for $15 an hour.

David Lerman, Berkeley