The following is a press release issued by the Office of California State Senator Mike McGuire
As extreme wildfire conditions have taken hold across the State of California over the past several years, CalFire has become more reliant on seasonal firefighters to protect communities and save lives than ever before. Over 1,600 men and women have signed up to be seasonal firefighters this season alone.
The importance of these seasonal firefighters has also grown exponentially over the last decade with the loss of 4,000 inmate firefighter positions. And even with the increased importance of these 10-month seasonal firefighter positions, these brave men and women aren’t protected under the same workplace laws or the Firefighter Bill of Rights as their full time peers. This is in spite of the fact that seasonal and full time firefighters perform the same work.
This has now changed with the passage of Senator McGuire’s SB206. This groundbreaking bill extends workplace protections under the Firefighter Bill of Rights to the 1,600 hard-working seasonal firefighters who are keeping California safe.
“Seasonal firefighters are doing the same back-breaking work as their full-time peers. They put themselves in harm’s way fighting the largest wildfires in American history and are on the front lines protecting our communities and saving lives. It’s past time for the state to provide equal protections for equal work,” Senator Mike McGuire said. “We are grateful to Governor Newsom for signing this critical bill and are forever grateful for the hard-working men and women protecting our state from wildfires.”
The original Firefighter Bill of Rights, passed in 2007, authorizes key workplace protections for full-time firefighters in the state of California. Seasonal firefighters, who work side by side with their full-time counterparts year after year have not been afforded these basic and crucial protections under the Firefighter Bill of Rights.
Under SB 206, seasonal firefighters, after their first year of working a season, will be included in the protections provided in the Firefighters Bill of Rights.
“California has become more reliant on seasonal firefighters over the last many years as the Golden State’s fire season has exploded: in 2020, more than 4 million acres – 4 percent of the land in California – burned in a record-setting year. This bill is a critical step in the right direction to protect seasonal firefighters who are protecting our communities,” Senator Mike McGuire said.