BOISE, Idaho (AP) — U.S. wildfire managers have started shifting from seasonal to full-time firefighting crews to deal with what has become a year-round wildfire season as climate change has made the American West warmer and drier. The crews also could remove brush and other hazardous fuels when not battling blazes.
The U.S. Bureau of Land Management said Thursday that it’s adding 76 firefighters and support personnel to its 3,400-person firefighting workforce.
Additionally, 428 firefighters will change from part-time seasonal work to either full-time seasonal or permanent work with health and retirement benefits. Ultimately, the agency wants about 80% of its firefighters on permanently. The rest would be seasonal, many of whom are college students who return to class in the fall.