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Biden signs off on hefty pay raise for federal firefighters through 2023

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FILE - US President Joe Biden meets with smoke jumpers and other firefighting professionals during a tour at the National Interagency Fire Center at Boise Airport on Sept.

13, 2021, in Boise, Idaho. (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images) President Joe Biden has signed off on giving federal wildland firefighters a hefty raise for the next two fiscal years, a move that affects more than 16,000 firefighters and comes as much of the West braces for a difficult wildfire season.Pay raises for the federal firefighters had been included in last year’s $1 trillion infrastructure bill, but they had been held up as Biden administration officials studied recruitment and retention data to decide where to deliver them.The White House said the move announced Tuesday is intended to set "federal agencies on a path to continue working with stakeholders towards an updated, competitive, and equitable pay structure, along with a support system that will address the many challenges that have plagued our wildland firefighter workforce for decades."The legislation stipulated that the $600 million in the infrastructure bill to increase pay for wildland firefighters should go to all those firefighters provided that they are "located within a specified geographic area in which it is difficult to recruit or retain a federal wildland firefighter."RELATED: How wildfires get their namesThe Biden administration in the end decided on a raise for all the federal wildland firefighters over the next two years, according to a senior administration official who spoke on the condition of anonymity ahead of the formal announcement.

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