Wyoming Republican US House Representative Liz Cheney is supporting a bill designed to overhaul federal wildland firefighters pay and benefits.
Cheney is co-sponsoring what is called Tim’s Act.
It is named after Cody smokejumper Tim Hart, who died earlier this year while parachuting into a wildland fire in New Mexico.
If passed the bill would raise federal wildland firefighters wages from $13.45 an hour to $20 an hour, ensure health care and increase paid leave and retirement benefits.
It would also include funding for housing and tuition assistance.
The bill puts a large emphasis on mental health benefits.
According to data from Las Vegas, Nevada Fire and Rescue, more firefighters have died by suicide in the last decade than ever before
The numbers don’t include volunteer firefighters, which are not included in the bill.
Cheney says “Across the West, smokejumpers and their families make so many sacrifices on behalf of us all, and it’s critically important that we take steps to ensure that they receive adequate compensation for the dangerous work they undertake on a daily basis.”
The bill’s main sponsor is Democratic Representative Joe Neguse from Colorado and is supported by a number of organizations including the U.S. Hotshots Association and the National Smokejumper Association.
So far more than 47,000 wildland fires have burned across the US in 2021.