First annual National Wildland Firefighter Day

National Wildland Firefighter Day

Each year we experience more extreme and longer wildland fires, and the wildland firefighting community rises to the challenge to protect life, property, and natural and cultural resources. On July 2, for National Wildland Firefighter Day we show appreciation and recognize the hard work and dedication of every wildland fire responder. Thank you also to the supporting families and friends of wildland fire responders who make it possible for responders to be away for weeks or months at a time.

President Biden issued a statement this morning about the commemoration:

Today, on the first annual National Wildland Firefighter Day, I join Americans across the country in expressing deep gratitude for our wildland firefighters who heroically protect our communities and natural resources from wildfires.

Recognizing their service and sacrifice on this day is especially important because we continue to ask more of them year after year. In the past year and a half, I’ve met firefighters in Idaho, California, Colorado, and New Mexico who work night and day to keep people safe, all while fires are getting larger, more intense, and more difficult to control because of climate change, the accumulation of hazardous fuels in our forests, and evolving land development patterns.

Firefighters can spend months away from their loved ones, courageously working to save lives, homes, schools, businesses, natural resources, and wilderness areas.  Beyond fighting fires, these dedicated women and men also work year-round to protect us from wildfires before they start by doing the important fuels management work needed to reduce the likelihood of catastrophic fire. This work is tough and extremely dangerous.

That’s why my Administration continues to make supporting this workforce a top priority.  Building on what I initiated last year, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law authorized historic new initiatives and resources for wildland firefighters that we are implementing now. This includes a substantial pay increase, new programs to support wildland firefighter mental and physical health, and the creation of a wildland firefighter job series that will improve recruitment, retention, and opportunities for professional growth.

We are also building our firefighting workforce, including converting more temporary firefighting positions to permanent jobs.  And we’re further supporting our brave firefighters by doing everything we can to help reduce the risk of catastrophic fires, including proposing a nearly 60 percent increase in hazardous fuels management funds in my Fiscal Year 2023 Budget Request, and investing another $2.5 billion in this work over the next five years through my Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

National Wildland Firefighter Day will occur annually during the previously established wildland firefighter Week of Remembrance.  I’ve attended too many memorial services for the fallen, including almost nine years to the day, *honoring 19 Granite Mountain Hotshot firefighters who died fighting the Yarnell Hill Fire in Arizona.  They were some of the strongest, most disciplined, tenacious, physically fit firefighters in the world.  So, this week we will also reflect on those firefighters who have fallen in the line of duty and renew our commitment to wildland firefighter safety.  We pause to remember them, commemorate their selfless service, and thank their loved ones for their service and many sacrifices.

May God bless firefighters and their families across our Nation.

National Wildland Firefighter Day logo

*Link to coverage of the memorial service for the Granite Mountain Hotshots added by Wildfire Today.

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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.

21 thoughts on “First annual National Wildland Firefighter Day”

  1. May God continue to bless all the firefighters and their families.

    This very ordinary person here has a question. With the “climate change”, is it still necessary to have prescribed burns, since they sometimes get out of control?

    1. Thank you for your dedication, team work and love of the job,hard hard work and glad you all are being recognized.

    2. Yes. The fact that they sometimes get out of control is an indicator of how dire the situation is. We need more Rx fire. Unfortunately since this problem is well over a century in the making it will take a long time to get back on course and things won’t always go as planned.

    1. It looks like we’re honoring technology, maps, and equipment. And, is “Duty, Respect, Integrity” an interagency motto, or just the US Forest Service?

      1. I thought the same thing lol. But I’d say Duty, Respect, and Integrity are interagency values as they are outlined in the IRPG pp. vi-viii.

  2. Im struck after reading this by the fact that when we / America says “wildland firefighter” most people likely aren’t thinking about the militia, or the fire clerk’s, or the dispatchers, or the coordinators, or the LEO’s, or their families, etc. Perhaps that will change in time. Right now it makes this retired wildlander feel a little betta knowing that our troops in the arena are getting some love from our country.. You all ROCK! \m/

    1. Copy that! Don’t be too hard on the folks who actually wrote this for the President. The focus of their article being the young men and women with soot on their face. More than likely the authors have never been On-the-line with a pulaski or shove, let alone on a wildland fire at all. Probably why they reference a “Hollywood Movie” as a source, for example.
      By the way, you forgot one other group in your comment, that being the AD’s. These days many Teams have lots of ADs lending a hand. Some say if it wasn’t for these retired folks helping out that the outfits would really be in trouble.

      1. Amen to that. I forgot the pilots, Cat Skinners & Lookouts too! The Wildland Firefighter Foundation needs a little love also – after all EVERY DAY is wildland firefighter day to them…

    2. I have not seen any papers addressing the ‘T3 Ratio’ on large fires. It would be interesting.

      Note: Tooth to Tail ratio (T3). The number of actual firefighters compared to the number of support and supervisory personnel.

  3. Anna – You only hear about the prescribed fires that get away. Rarely do you hear about the other thousands that are successful. If you have been affected by one that escaped, my condolences. The problem with the forests today is we took fire out of them. We need prescribed fire now more than ever before.

    1. We got them in Monday and some received them on Friday. It was just for the back pay, the “supplement” ($750 per pay period) will begin soon.

  4. Thank you to all the wildland firefighters who are out there giving their time, and sacrificing that precious time away from their families. Especially a heartfelt thanks to those who gave the ultimate….their life. I am remembering my son, Caleb, who willingly left his home that summer to help, but never returned.
    Blessings to all the families of the fallen.

    1. My sincere condolences, Lynette, on the loss of your son, Caleb. Thank you for this very kind and hearfelt note.

What are you thoughts?