Wildland Firefighter Day: Biden emphasises commitment to safety and support

Wildland Firefighter fighting grass fire

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In an address to the nation on 2 July, US President Joe Biden expressed his profound gratitude and support for the nation’s wildland firefighters.

This statement echoed across the nation, stirring sentiments of unity and acknowledgement.

Joe Biden pays tribute to brave wildland firefighters

“Today, on National Wildland Firefighter Day, I join Americans across the country in expressing deep gratitude for our wildland firefighters and support personnel who heroically protect our communities and natural resources from wildfires,” stated President Biden.

He went on to commemorate the Week of Remembrance, from June 30 to July 6, recognising it as a time for the nation to reinforce its commitment to wildland firefighter safety.

Pledging continued support to allies and advancing wildland firefighter safety

President Biden also highlighted the ongoing efforts of US firefighters battling the challenging wildfire season in Canada.

“We have deployed almost 1,300 Federal and State firefighters, support personnel, and significant firefighting assets, such as airtankers and advanced technology support, to help our Canadian allies,” President Biden stated.

Additionally, the address paid tribute to the fallen firefighters, like the 19 Granite Mountain Hotshot firefighters who tragically lost their lives in the Yarnell Hill Fire in Arizona ten years ago.

Enhancing firefighting resources and resilience in communities in response to climate change

Biden acknowledged the growing demands on firefighters due to climate change, leading to larger, more intense wildfires.

“Since taking office, I’ve met with firefighters working night and day to keep their communities safe, as fires get larger, more intense, and more difficult to control because of climate change,” he commented.

He expressed his administration’s dedication to supporting this workforce, outlining measures including a $7 billion funding boost through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act for agencies such as the Department of Agriculture, the Department of the Interior, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

President Biden’s administration aims to increase wages, improve benefits, and invest in health and wellness for wildland firefighters.

“I have directed my Administration to do everything possible to ensure wildland firefighters receive the wages, benefits, and other investments for health and wellness that are necessary to support and grow this critical workforce,” stated President Biden.

The President urged his Administration to invest in building more resilient communities to ensure safety and reduce the burden on firefighters.

IFSJ Comment

President Biden’s recognition of the challenges faced by our wildland firefighters and his commitment to their safety and well-being is a significant step. Investment in fire services and proactive measures in response to climate change are crucial in safeguarding our communities. This is an important message that reaffirms the valuable service provided by our firefighters.

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