Senator Jon Tester today released the following statement after news that health insurance benefits will be made available to wildland firefighters. Thousands of wildland firefighters have battled fires across the Big Sky State this summer to protect Montanans, their homes, and their property:
"Firefighters risk their lives in grueling conditions to protect Montana and the people who live here. These brave men and women deserve the certainty of quality health care on the job and providing these benefits is the right call."
Due to the seasonal nature of wildland firefighting, many federal firefighters were not previously eligible for health care and retirement benefits.
Tester today also joined a bipartisan group of Senators in introducing a resolution thanking the firefighters for their heroic efforts to fight wildfires in Montana and across the American West.
The Office of Personnel Management, the U.S. Forest Service, and the Department of Interior announced this week the agencies plan to offer temporary federal firefighters the same access to health care benefits that federal employees receive.