Kilmer Joins Bipartisan Letter to President Trump Asking for Clarification on Whether Federal Hiring Freeze Impacts Seasonal Firefighters

Washington D.C. – This week, U.S. Representative Derek Kilmer (D-WA) joined other members of the House in a bipartisan call for President Trump’s administration to answer whether the federal hiring freeze impacts seasonal firefighters. In a letter to the Office of Personnel Management the members requested clarity on whether the freeze prevents the U.S. Forest Service from hiring seasonal firefighters for wildfire season.

“As members of Congress who represent states impacted annually by wildfires, we are concerned this hiring freeze may prohibit the U.S. Forest Service from hiring seasonal firefighters and other professionals in anticipation of wildfire season,” the members wrote in the letter. “An inability to hire seasonal firefighters to combat wildfires seriously threatens public safety in our states.”   

According to the National Federation of Federal Employees, the Forest Service hired at least 6,200 seasonal workers for firefighting or firefighting-related duties in 2015. These seasonal firefighters supplement state and local firefighters’ efforts to prepare for wildfire season and contain wildfires as they emerge. In order to ensure they are trained and ready for wildfire season, the Forest Service’s hiring process traditionally begins over the next several weeks with a series of job fairs in wildfire-prone states.