Idaho struggles to hire enough firefighters for upcoming wildland fire season

  • Source: KBSU-FM 90.3 Boise
  • Published: 06/20/2024 01:02 PM

The state is struggling to hire enough firefighters for the upcoming wildfire season. Presenting in front of Idaho’s Board of Land Commissioners on Tuesday, Fire Management Chief Josh Harvey said it’s been difficult to retain experienced seasonal wildland firefighters, engine bosses, and specifically, incident commanders. “It’s a pretty niche job,” he said. “We're competing with our neighboring states, contractors as well. So, the opportunities are there, the bodies are not.” The challenge, Harvey said, is getting people into entry level positions, which pay $16 an hour. Once hired, he said folks have long term ways to climb up ranks. Most hires, Harvey added, are already firefighters. Currently, the state has 141 seasonal firefighters hired for the 2024 fire season and only 18 out the 31 engine chief positions, or less than 60%, are filled.


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