US Forest Service briefs firefighters on pay and new job classification

They could see a retroactive pay bump in June

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USFS HQ Washington DC
The Washington, DC headquarters of the U.S. Forest Service. Photo by Bill Gabbert.

Today in a live online presentation to their firefighting personnel, the U.S. Forest Service (FS) gave an update on the status of the changes to their pay that are required in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) that was passed in October.

It was presented over the course of an hour by Jaelith Hall-Rivera, Deputy Chief for State & Private Forestry and Brian Rhodes, Program Manager for Firefighter Series and Pay, and Human Resources.

Temporary pay supplement

Ms. Hall-Rivera said the pay supplement authorized by the legislation will hopefully begin appearing in paychecks in June. It will increase the salary of wildland firefighters by $20,000, or 50 percent of their base salary, whichever is less. There is a finite amount of funds appropriated for this increase, $480 million which also includes funding for a few other purposes, so unless and until additional dollars are authorized by Congress it is considered temporary. They are hoping to avoid employees receiving a pay increase, followed by a pay cut, and finally the permanent pay increase later when the new job series and pay structure is implemented. 

The calculation of the amount of each person’s supplement will not consider overtime — only base salary. A complicating factor is that the legislation restricts it to geographic areas in which it is difficult to recruit or retain a Federal wildland firefighter. In addition, decisions must be made about which positions will be affected.

“Our leadership intent is to have this applied as broadly as possible to as many firefighters as possible and to get it into paychecks hopefully in June, that is our goal,” said Ms. Hall-Rivera.

The FS is working with the Department of the Interior (DOI) and their four agencies that have wildland fire responsibilities to coordinate the identification of the geographic areas that will receive the pay supplement. It will be retroactive to the time the legislation was passed, which they have identified as October 1, 2021.

Different Firefighter job series and pay schedule 

The Office of Personnel Management is sticking to the timeline they established in January and expect to issue their policy on a new job classification for a Wildland Firefighter occupational series by the end of the month. The legislation set a due date of May 13, 2022. Because of the time crunch, there will be little if any opportunity for the FS or the DOI to review the OPM’s product, but the union will be consulted. The hope is that the transition into a different series, expected to be GS-456, will be complete by the end of 2022 or near the beginning of 2023. Decisions will have to be made about which positions will be offered the opportunity to be in the Wildland Firefighter series. 

Mr. Rhodes said moving to the series will likely include GS-462, possibly GS-401, and they will consider the GS-301 positions.

He said no one will be forced to move to the different series, but vacant and new positions will be in the Wildland Firefighter series. Firefighter retirement will not be affected by the transition.

The OPM allows agencies to request a special salary table. Ms. Hall-Rivera said that after all the requirements in the BIL are satisfied work will begin on assembling the data and recommendations of pay for the personnel in the Wildland Firefighter series. That is expected to begin in the late summer or fall. They will also request additional funding from Congress for the pay increase.

What will not be covered in the new pay structure

Mr. Rhodes said several issues were not authorized in the BIL and will not be covered in a new pay structure — portal to portal pay, funds to support of the cost of housing, and premium pay being included in calculation of retirement income.

Communication

Ms. Hall-Rivera began the presentation by recognizing that there has not been much information distributed to their 10,000+ firefighters about these pending changes, explaining that the BIL is complicated and they have been working hard to untangle its provisions.

“We were head down working and we didn’t pick our head up to share with all of you what was going on,” she said. “This is our opportunity to begin doing that more frequently…And I completely understand and acknowledge it is frustrating that [you may] wonder why it has taken so long. I know this impacts your choices about your career path. It impacts you and your family.”

Comment from the Grassroots Wildland Firefighters

“While we are glad to finally see the OPM, USFS, and DOI agencies providing information on classification and pay, we are disappointed to see the OPM dusting off the 0456 series which was widely used in the 1970s/80s,” said Riva Duncan, Executive Secretary of Grassroots Wildland Firefighters. “Going back is not a viable option for moving forward.  This is not a “new” series, but one that didn’t meet the needs of federal wildland firefighters previously when the USFS sought new classification.  Unless the OPM is making significant revisions to reflect the knowledge, skills, and abilities of today’s wildland firefighters, and can adapt to the needs of both those with with and without  degrees/certificates, it will not work.”

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

83 thoughts on “US Forest Service briefs firefighters on pay and new job classification”

  1. Riva Duncan, I sincerely whish you all the very best, shoot for the stars and with any luck you will land on the moon, this bill has some great fanciful stuff in it i.e. portal to portal, if you have any hopes of getting this bill passed, it better happen by Nov 3. 2022, there is a red tsunami headed our way…..BIG RED Wave, and I believe there is coming a time that folks are going lose their appetite for spending, w/ the great recession that has begun to show it’s self……
    (1), the Secretaries shall submit a report to Congress on whether pay, benefits, and bonuses provided to Federal wildland firefighters are comparable to the pay, benefits, and bonuses provided for non Federal firefighters in the State or locality where Federal wildland firefighters are based.
    This is stuck in there for R-5 and R-5 only, because nearly every where else the feds are the real money makers, if you want to be paid like Cal Fire then meet their standards, because right now we are not even close, we are ok at WF, EMS/SF/All Haz, we are not that great, I can’t wait to see the feds in there class B uniforms let alone class A……I am just a retired Fed FF who believe in equitable pay for a job well done……

    As you can gather I am not 100% on board with some of this…….it needs to be for all fed FF’s…….Cheers….

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    1. What’s the BIG RED wave going to do for us? Not much will change regardless of who is in charge; red, blue…whole lot of nothing. More of us will likely continue to barely scrape by while the politicians flap their lips and collect their 250K paychecks. Eyeroll.

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  2. “In it for the money.” What money? Do you want a family, a house, a decent vehicle. Even with the 1000 hours of OT-not to mention the toll the job takes on the body-how is this even sustainable?

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  3. Hey R-3, I believe you have nailed, well said…..R-5 is the red headed step child……always bigger and of course better…way back when CDF started to get paid I thought how can that be sustainable, so far it has….who knows maybe for not much longer……I think old cal is on the verge of cracking, they have had the driest consecutive three months on record “so I hear”, out of water and rolling black outs just around the corner, not real sure if they are the best example for the rest……I can say these things being a native CA….leaving was one of my better decisions……

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    1. Thanks man, I nailed it so hard when R5 tried to take shots the mods deleted a couple comments. Anyways, strong work on leaving, hope you found a better place.

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  4. This is all I could think of the entire time they were blabbering.

    “Chiefs, what you have just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone on this call is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.”

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      1. Nevermind, I didn’t realize I was dealing with someone so gnarly that they had some comments deleted by mods. Props Farva.

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        1. Nothing gnarly about me or what I said. I just do my job, do it good, learn from mistakes. I also enjoy crushing whiners that run their mouth. No issues with you. Just figuring out you comment.

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          1. R3,

            In your own mind, do you differentiate between whining and say: lobbying for better wages and conditions?

            To me, whining is pretty much identifying a problem without attempting to correct it. Slacktevism is pretty close, but I guess it does something. There is some sort of measurable pressure exerted by social media.

            I also think that the posters here who spend a bunch of time desconstructing other people’s criticisms of work conditions (whether those criticisms are very constructive or not) are whining… About people whining.

            In favor of the “bootstraps” side of this sort of dichotomy, there is also management. What I mean is that, you can tell someone to “just leave” if they don’t like it, but it isn’t particularly constructive, because someone is eventually going to do that any way if they don’t like it. In fact, if you followed any of the news articles about retention here, people are actually leaving left and right. That is actually a huge problem for the public that might be affected by wildland fires this year. If the FS continues to manage wildland fire exactly as they have been, there won’t be anyone left to whine. So that will happen whether you encourage it or not. No effort needed.

            In favor of the “whiner” side of the dichotomy, there are people doing actual work right to improve conditions. Many of these people are also extremely tough firefighters who are production powerhouses on the line. They are doing extra work on top of their day job fighting fire. I don’t know if you have ever tried to change work conditions inside of a federal agency, but I have, with some limited success. I would much rather get broke off cutting line somewhere. In fact, I’ve done a lot of both. It’s miserable thankless work trying to improve conditions most of the time and you lose a lot.

            No one who later benefits from some boring piece of policy you spent months working on changing (often in your free time) ever leaves some paper plate with “thank you firefighter” written in crayon by their kid nailed to the fence by your office. Usually, no one has any idea at all, they are just glad for whatever concession someone else got for them. They are just “happy to take a raise”. Like you. In favor of the whiners, they will probably get some of the things they are whining about because someone else is putting in the god awful paperwork to make it happen.

            There is a reason people are cheering groups like GRWFF, because they did that extra work and went that extra mile. They buckled down and did the work and finally actually got some pretty big stuff out of it. That I am sure you won’t make any effort to turn down. I have never in 20 years seen a single self-proclaimed hardass anti-entitlement firefighter actually turn down a good deal someone else got for them. Never once.

            No one is going to remember that one guy who dug a few more chains than everyone else in 10 years. It’s like your highschool football days, you get old and you move on. I can promise you that a lot of people are going to remember the Tim Hart Act if that happens.

            I’m telling you this, because you don’t sound like someone who has done this for very long, not based on the scope and nature of what you are describing. It sounds like maybe a brand new squaddie and most likely a senior level frame of reference.

            Every single entitlement you have, came from someone who wasn’t happy with the job at some level or another. All those benefit acronyms you dropped earlier came from someone else’s hard work. Quite often, probably someone who was also a producer in the field. It takes extremely motivated people to try to bend this system. Without knowing who you are talking to, you might be confusing other people here that are doing a lot of that work and also come here to vent with what you have in your head as a whiner.

            Which sounds like maybe from your reference point is some forestry tech who can’t keep up on a hike? I dunno. I don’t think you probably have the foggiest idea how some of this policy change is coming about and the effort it takes. It certainly didn’t come from all of the banter in the forum comments.

            If you are really the knuckledragging, asskicking, badass you are presenting yourself as, then consider putting some of that effort into improving the job. It doesn’t mean you have to think the job sucks, but it can always be better. Figure out how it works, how change happens.

            You can push for anti-whiner policies I guess too, whatever sort of ripple you want to make, as long as you make one. Flexing e-peen here isn’t going to.

            Take that however you want.

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            1. Yes there’s some whining here, but mostly just venting frustrations. Tomorrow we’ll lace our boots up and go get the job done, because that’s what we do. Everyone has a bad day and that’s ok, as long as it’s not every day. Being a good crew member and coworker also means picking your brother or sister up on those days. Knowing on your bad day they’ll be there to pick you up and not kick you while you’re down. I’ll stop there before I start singing kumbaya. We’re all on the same team.

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  5. The calculation of the amount of each person’s supplement will not consider overtime — only base salary. A complicating factor is that the legislation restricts it to geographic areas in which it is difficult to recruit or retain a Federal wildland firefighter. In addition, decisions must be made about which positions will be affected.

    Are you kidding, only certain geographic areas, what a croc of dung, it should be all or none, we are going to punish someone for living iv VA because they choose not live out in way overpriced west coast, this is total crap.

    What is the next step when this pay raise does nothing to solve recruitment and retention, because if we are real we all know it will not solve that issue, yes of course you will get a few, but not nearly enough….times have changed…..people do not want to work hard for their money, most youngsters have a socialists’ mind frame…I will probably be censored for saying that….lol…..

    Do we really think that those that do not receive the pay raise are going to be all smiles, sure they will smile, smile as the exit the door…..

    Who cares as long as I get mine……

    Oh….one more thing…..we will need to request long term funding to sustain this pay raise…….as we race towards 40 tril debt…….someone will have to soon pay this debt, no doubt it will be my kids when they are standing in the soon to be soup lines just on the horizon…..potato soup for everyone and maybe a slice of bread…….oh……it’s coming…..and maybe sooner than later…….Peace out……

    Someone needs to make this right for all, not just a few…….not good…..a lot of us left out west because of the ridiculous cost of living……Just saying……

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  6. Every Fed work your 40 Hour work week and not a hour more, it’s all that’s required.

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  7. Don’t get me wrong I’ll take a raise any day, but when did our pay start to suck? Base+ OT+H+ some holidays. As a GS 4 then a 5 seasonal for many years we crushed it every summer on the IHC. I’ve moved up a few GS levels and still can’t complain, SL, AL, TSP, retirement. This job isn’t for everyone but if you can hack it, this job is the shit! If your in it strictly for the $ you should probably find another job as soon as you can. All the hard chargers know what I’m talking about, the buckle sniffers and posers will never understand. And don’t forget, a raise won’t un-turd some of the turds out there. 30 minute lunch over, can’t believe I had service, hope your day is awesome and your getting some like me!

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    1. You might want to delve into the retirement calculator. After 25 years you’re looking at 39% of your high three, minus the benefits. Also, after over 20 years of hard charging it, your body pays a price. I didn’t believe that at one time but feel the truth now. I made the choice to be in this career and fully accept it. Like my old Supt used to say, “sometimes you get the chicken sometimes you get the feathers”. Stay safe.

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      1. Agreed! 33 years old 14 years in fire have carpel tunnel from sawing on a shot crew for 12 years , have had 6 spinal injections and one ACL only 17 years left till retirement.

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      2. I have and I agree, high 3, TSP, and OPM suppliment till social security isn’t the best but we can always AD as TFLD, DIVS, or something. Time will tell how wear and tear affects me. Take care

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    2. It’s not really that the pay “started to suck,” but that the cost of everything else has gone up massively in the last several years without a corresponding increase in wages. If your salary hasn’t changed, but your rent, food, gas, and other bills have all increased by 20-40%, then you have a problem… especially if you have a family and were barely getting by before.

      If you’re a young, single guy living out of your truck, your dollar stretches a lot farther than a dad with three extra mouths to feed.

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    3. By the way you’re talking, you’re probably single and you probably do not own a home or have a family. You obviously have no idea what’s going on in R5. Where equal pay is not being distributed for equal work. How would you feel fighting fire with state, county or city firefighters on the line with you (or even worse, taking spots up on your IMT’s) where making double, getting portal to portal and sleeping in hotels and you didn’t even receive presumptive occupational disease coverage? I think you’re the only one who doesn’t get it. Keep getting some dude.

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      1. Keep eatin your Famous Amos there, R3
        You wear a Superman cape to all the fires you roll to?

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        1. Don’t worry I will. They taste even better when I wash them down with your tears rather than the super hot water in my nalgene. No cape, just go hard, take notes if you see me.

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    4. Pride is the highest form of cope for people who can’t come to terms with their own exploitation. Your bosses must love you, though. Keep those apples polished.

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      1. Lol, I’m embarrassed for you and any other Wildlands firefighter that whines about an awesome public servant tax payer funded job. If you don’t like your job then bounce. Negative attitudes are a poison that can ruin the dynamic on any crew and I bet you have a bad one. Exploited… This isn’t china homie, if you said some inmate crews are exploited at $1 an hr I may have listened. Yep, bosses love me I get stuff done, crew loves me cause I lead be example, rookies love me cause I teach the as much as I can. What do you do in this job? Are you an asset or a problem? Will do on the apples. You have my attention on this thread for 1 more hour so make it count.

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  8. Congratulations to the folks that will get the “pay supplement”. I can read the writing on the wall, my region will most likely not get it. At least I can enjoy the summers. Good luck to all of you out West.

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  9. Remember when the feds come to your door and say “we are here to help you “ good luck

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  10. On my district, militia helps with every wildfire that occurs…every one. They are also on every p-burn. They get H-pay, night diff, Sunday diff, and OT just like everyone else. The difference is they are all PFT GS-456 and in most cases higher. We have militia up to GS-11/12. Every one of them also go west each summer and make good. Then they go back to their normal jobs and fight fire when it’s a priority.

    Fire isn’t a priority year round in most geographic regions and this will be the out for the FS. That’s why the geographic region stipulation was mentioned.

    They just had a national hire event for timber and the rumor is are having on for rec/wildlife. They are hiring thousands of PFT positions in the militia. Is this a sign?

    I think it’s time to give up and put in for one of those positions. What’s 20 year retirement if you retire at a GS-5?

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    1. A lot of good points here, higher GS, PFT instead of career seasonal, plenty of time doing fire stuff etc. the only issue is if you get a supervisor that’s not supportive of assisting the fire effort.

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    2. Excellent trolling, my dude.

      Adds nothing to the conversation but rumor and innuendo, while simultaneously stoking resentment of the militia.

      If I was wearing a tin foil hat, I’d speculate you were from the WO, lol.

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      1. There is no resentment of militia on my unit. As I said, they make more and fight as much fire as the employees in fire positions. In fact, when it comes to western detail some of the militia go more than full time fire positions. This is particularly true if its p-burn season and R3 or R5 takes off. If you think I’m trolling that’s your opinion. I’m just saying from a long term income and security aspect the FS has many positions that are seem more appealing at this point.

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        1. Yep, we recently had one of our career seasonals jump from fire to another program for those reasons.

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        2. Having worked in R2, R3, and R8 there is a big difference in skills in initial attack and running those incidents between militia and primary firefighters. There are definitely some awesome militia in R8 that are great firefighters( definitely leading the pack for militia experience). Technical skills and slides just aren’t there…Can they run a pump on a fire seamlessly with 5 engines using you as a pumping platform? Can they IC a type 4 going type 3? Are they fit enough to haul 3 hosepacks, hotspot, run down the hill, grab a saw and a tree of wyes? The fact that you get out a lot doesn’t mean the same end state on a fire.

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  11. Lets Demob her!!!! Sign the petition!

    Rattle cages, rock the boat, push back, call people out publicly, write your elected officials, write to the press, step up, leak info, whatever needs to be done! The time for games and 1/2 measures is over!!

    https://chng.it/pVjWczJb

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    1. Robert, the only way you will be able to get rid of her is if there is a scandal. I mean, she lied to Congress, purgered herself. and they did nothing.

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  12. I don’t trust Jaelith as far as I can throw a gun safe. After her abysmal showing to Congress I have lost any/all confidence in her feeble ability to do anything. It’s disconcerting that THIS is the person that Randy has tasked with seeing this through!!!!!

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  13. That meeting was a perfect refresher of every single unanswered question I have had from last year being repeated by the people supposed to be answering it.

    If it is all up to OPM then maybe one of the less light-sensitive members of that community could have been present?

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  14. Watchout #1 “They are hoping to avoid employees receiving a pay increase, followed by a pay cut, and finally the permanent pay increase later when the new job series and pay structure is implemented.”

    Let’s be clear – hope is not a plan!

    Watchout #2 June is already upon us as you communicate this non-progress “progress report” to your troops & the curious citizenry trying to keep an eye on your shenanigans.

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  15. The pay raise, is that just for government firefighters or private firefighters as well??

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  16. This is the same info the DOI reported in mid-March. The deadline according to law has passed, they don’t know, or don’t have the guts to say, what positions will get the increase, what geographic areas will get the increase (not getting started on this BS), what series we will be in, or what the pay scale will look like. So what has been done? Failed leadership. Tired of the games!

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  17. “Head down working…” c’mon! We know with the holidays they didn’t start working on this until mid-Jan at the earliest, and that’s a reach, and took breaks in between for “scheduling issues” (read rando leadership taking leave at dif times making it impossible to schedule meetings).

    They’ve kicked this can down the road for so many years and are so far behind they literally don’t know what to do but in the end it’s gonna screw the little guys…think about it they’re gonna look at a GS4 temp say they make $16k a year and give ‘em a $8k supplement. Meanwhile PFT Gs8’s (like myself) are gonna get a full $20k…it ain’t right and it’s not gonna fix our staffing issues. They need to get the ground pounders front line Firefighter’s paid NOW…shots, jumpers, helitack, WFMs, and engine crews. Then they need keep their head down and figure out pay raises for secondary fire, support positions and incentives for militia. That should be their end goal for the start of 2023…otherwise we’re gonna keep hemorrhaging people in all aspects of fire.

    This problem wasn’t a secret and has been spelled out for a long time now. The GS pay scale overall did not keep up with median income,which is not their fault, but it was easily foreseeable that fire was gonna take a hit with personnel numbers if they didn’t do anything to keep up with pay….and they didn’t they turned a blind eye to the issue and are now too catch up with a process they are far too behind in.

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  18. Does anyone who watched the meeting recall what the email address that was provided to send questions to was?

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      1. The email does not work. Anything sent to it is returned as “unrecognized”. Almost like the agency never bothered to set up or test the address…

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        1. I tried sending in a question yesterday afternoon and got that same error. I was hoping I just had the wrong e-mail address but I guess not.

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  19. USFS: here’s an update on stuff we should have told you long ago.
    DOI: (crickets)

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    1. Well the BLM has had their biweekly“fireside chats” but the info wasn’t any different. Just a bunch of “We don’t know” and “maybes” and questions from non fire personnel asking if they’re getting a raise. Like homie put out they’re trying to apply it “broadly to anybody remotely related to fire” which led to some rando Pay Center person asking if they’ll get a raise since they pay fire personnel….it was quite entertaining but not very informational.

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      1. To add to the problem:

        Our son is a BLM roads supervisor who struggles to fill vacancies. How are wildland firefighters going to do their jobs with insufficient staffing to maintain existing roads, let alone build new ones? Does anyone want to work these days?

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        1. Everyone wants to work for DECENT PAY. Which the Feds don’t have for anything in the lower ranks.

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        2. Frustrated…

          If I had to do over again..

          But when it takes nearly 6 months from interview to hire….payments are due….sometimes ya just can’t wait for HR ….know what I mean?

          Really ….how hard is it to hire?

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          1. #shazaaaam. I totally agree. I was told that they wanted to hire someone by the beginning of May. It’s almost June.

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        3. I work and work and work and I still barely make my bills. There’s 0 extra to save or do something fun with. Seriously thinking I might have to use the food bank for necessities.

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  20. We need to get the great folks from Grassroots onto CNN, Fox, MSNBC, etc. until the public as a whole starts to hear our issues, there is little to no motivation from ANY elected official to act and force the change that is so critically needed to prevent an outright collapse of the federal Wildland fire fighting organization.

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  21. The FS continues to act like a circus. None of the information we learned today was new. What a waste of time. The R5 Forest Service will NEVER be able to compete with Cal Fire or OES without at least putting in a real attempt to close this DISGUSTING pay gap and by adding in Portal-to-Portal. Speaking of Cal Fire, they are hiring right now yo!

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    1. “R5 Forest Service will NEVER be able to compete with Cal Fire”

      The State of California can afford to pay its firefighters a decent wage.
      The State of California currently has a budget surplus of 97 BILLION DOLLARS,

      so the state apparently didn’t go broke paying them what they’re worth.

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      1. The hours we work the sacrifice that our families back at home deal with and after 29 years I still don’t make enough!

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  22. So maybe this money will maybe be available to some people in some regions starting in June….. do they realize that June is a week away? As if all these answers they’ve put off will somehow solve themselves in the next week, not to mention over a holiday weekend? Totally laughable.

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  23. What a disappointment. We keep hearing about pay increases, and the agency keeps sticking the hard to fill duty locations clause in the fine print. Thats a great formula to gradually make all your duty stations hard to fill, and give yourself a pile of vacancies that you really dont need. Glad to know grassroots is out there still applying pressure and providing straight, clear talk to the public and the press so they dont buy into the corporate talking points that gloss over all the things they are not doing for their people. Like, for instance, a simple across the board pay raise instead of this duty station specific BS.

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  24. Can anybody enlighten me on the previous usage of the 0456 series? First I’ve heard of a wildland fire specific series that was apparently used by the USFS decades ago?

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    1. Fire Control Aid

      I was first hired into that series way back in the day. A couple years later everyone was folded into the Forestry Aid/Tech series. I never got the whole reason why. Barracks rumor was a back door way to get the 6C retirement approved, but I suspect that was just scuttlebutt that someone made up.

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    2. It only went up to the GS 8 or 9 level and didn’t allow any differentials. No hazard diff, no night diff, no Sunday diff. People were moved into 462 because there was a higher career ladder and people could get H pay.

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      1. Oh nice, thanks.

        I could see being okay with giving up H and night/sunday diff in exchange for a suitable base rate bump and maybe portal-to-portal or Cal Fire 3/4/4/3 scheduling or OT counting towards retirement, but I’d want to be damn sure that the agency would hold up their end of the bargain.

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  25. “We were head down working and we didn’t pick our head up to share with all of you what was going on,” AKA “We’re feeling the heat from Congress, time to CYA”.

    We all know that everywhere is difficult to recruit and retain. We feel it every day doing more with less, while trying to show pride in our work. I’d be scared to see what metric they’re trying to pick out of a hat to justify the geographic areas if they’re saying Direct Hire Authority doesn’t make the cut.

    If it’s not across the board throughout all areas, you’ll never hire seasonals in the neglected areas and will lose perms within a few years. All geographic regions contribute experienced overhead, single resources, engines, and crews. The staffing problem goes beyond daily staffing in individual areas. Watch that UTF list skyrocket if AG/DOI lose more of their NATIONAL workforce.

    Let’s see when DOI speaks up…

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    1. “… the legislation restricts it to geographic areas in which it is difficult to recruit or retain a federal wildland firefighter.”

      In which geographic areas today is it not difficult to recruit or retain?
      I’m not being a smartass about that, I actually want an answer.

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  26. So, status normal, nothing new to report, nothing promising on the horizon

    Make one area benefit from being “ A complicating factor is that the legislation restricts it to geographic areas in which it is difficult to recruit or retain a Federal wildland firefighter. ” to another area being difficult to fill once people transfer out of one area to the other to get the increase…..do they not understand that EVERY WHERE is difficult to recruit or retain?

    Another day, another 16 on the line

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      1. Damn, I forgot about finance always watching that extra $1.37 we might earn for that 30 min.
        I’ve run out of space on the ol’ctr trying to get the justification for “H” pay. They want a full blown paragraph, with no spelling errors, grammatical correct, with all the i’s dotted and t’s crossed before you get that approved anymore ?

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    1. I retired in 2011 as a R5 Captain. I see nothing has changed. This new direction is absolutely a slap in the face. Too all the current professional’s I feel your pain.

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  27. Feeling a little pressure from the field and from a few US Senators there, Ms Rivera and Mr Moore?

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  28. We are very sorry we haven’t communicated effectively to you these past six months. Please forgive us. In the future we will more proactively fail to communicate anything of substance to you directly. -FS Leadership (probably)

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    1. I feel like “hopefully” is the diplomatic way bureaucrats tell us “don’t hold your breath”.

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