Underpaid Firefighters, Stretched Budgets: US Unprepared For Climate Fires

"PORTLAND, Ore. — On the heels of one of the worst wildfire years on record, the federal government is struggling to recruit and retain staff as firefighters grapple with low wages, trauma and burnout from increasingly long and intense fire seasons.

Heat waves have toppled temperature records across the nation, and firefighters are actively battling 48 large blazes that have consumed more than half a million acres in 12 states. But land management agencies are carrying out fire mitigation measures at a fraction of the pace required, and the funds needed to make communities more resilient are one-seventh of what the government has supplied.

“We’re burning up, we’re choking up, we aren’t just heating up,” California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) told President Biden at a meeting with Cabinet officials and Western governors Wednesday. “Across the board we have to disabuse ourselves of the old timelines and the old frames of engagement. … We can’t just double down.”"

Sarah Kaplan reports for the Washington Post July 1, 2021.

Source: Washington Post, 07/02/2021