VIDEO: Federal wildland firefighters across the country are facing massive pay cuts due to federal funding running out.
Senator Michael Bennet stopped in Grand Junction Friday, sitting down with firefighters who are feeling the stress and strain that comes from the pay cuts in federal funding.
Senator Bennet wants to ensure that wildland firefighters don’t experience pay cuts, pushing to pass the Tim Hart Wildland Firefighter Pay and Classification Act which would serve as a long-term solution that provides comprehensive benefits for wildland firefighters and raises pay. Not only will the legislation provide a greater base pay, but will also include mental health resources.
The bill is named in honor of Tim Hart, a smokejumper from Cody, Wyoming, who tragically lost his life while battling the Eicks fire in New Mexico.
KJCT-TV ABC 8 Grand Junction
VIDEO: Near the western edge of the vast San Juan National Forest, there stands a lookout tower 9,262 feet above sea level. With a view that includes four states — Utah, New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado — no one gets a better lay of the land than Rick Freimuth.
Freimuth and his wife, Linda, have occupied the Benchmark Lookout every summer since 2016. Now retired, the couple can’t help but come back to staff the lookout each year, relishing the solitude it provides them.
“Lookouts are traditionally people who seek solitude . . . looking for smokes might be incidental for those people. For me, it’s not. I love finding smokes and the solitude is just wonderful,” Freimuth commented.
Throughout his day, Freimuth is constantly on the watch for “smokes” — signs of potential wildfires — as far as his eye can see.
Rocky Mountain PBS