President Joe Biden is assembly with the governors of Western states on Wednesday to debate the rising menace of wildfires amid a extreme drought and record-breaking warmth wave throughout the area.
The president is ready to announce new efforts to extend wildfire prevention and response efforts, together with hiring extra federal firefighters and elevating their pay to not less than $15 per hour, in accordance with senior administration officers in a press briefing late Tuesday.
Federal firefighters, a few of whom make about $13 an hour, in accordance with the officers, will obtain bonuses to bump up their pay within the short-term. Biden, who has known as federal firefighters’ pay “ridiculously low,” goals to work with Congress to make the wage will increase long-term.
Different actions the Biden administration is planning to assist struggle fires this yr and sooner or later embody coaching different federal staff as “surge capability” to assist struggle fires, enhancing early detection applied sciences for fires, and creating new apps and maps for individuals to verify on wildfires rising close by.
As Western states endure excessive drought situations and emerge from a warmth wave that despatched temperatures hovering above 100 in lots of areas in latest days, the president plans to ask state leaders what further sources they should face the specter of wildfires.
This wildfire season, nonetheless early on, has already seen extra wildfires than final yr’s up to now — and final yr was a record-breaking wildfire season.
Local weather change has led to hotter temperatures and drier situations, creating longer, extra damaging hearth seasons. As an illustration, as of 2019, 4 of the 5 largest wildfires in California had occurred prior to now decade alone. However in 2020, 4 of the 5 largest wildfires in state historical past occurred that yr alone.
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