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Idaho Legislature passes hazard pay bill for wildland firefighters

Posted at 5:44 PM, Mar 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-25 11:42:41-04

KIMBERLY, Idaho — Idaho Legislation has passed a bill that will provide hazard pay for all Idaho state wildland firefighters.

House Bill 588 will give Idaho wild land firefighters 25% above their hourly wage while working in dangerous conditions. The bills comes as local wild land firefighters prepare for wildfire season.

Idaho is currently in a drought causing wildfire season to start earlier and end later than usual.

"It was pretty typical that you wouldn't start till June and usually the end of September you would be done and now you're seeing, it's March and we have a truck out in Texas and we are staying out till November, December so its really starting to become a year around gig" said Tyler Muegerl, a firefighter for Rock Creek Fire District.

Earlier this week, two southern Idaho fire stations sent engines to Texas to help fight against wildfires that have already burned over 100,000 acres.

Wild land firefighting is also a seasonal job and Tyler said this bill will help firefighter who don't have insurance year round.

"Ya know, not having insurance year around, you kind of worry about getting hurt and the hospital bills that can come in the winter or something happens and hopefully that extra money can help pay for that."

As wildfire seasons continue to start earlier every year, this hazard pay will help support wildland firefighters during the off-season.