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May 24, 2022

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Despite record funding, US firefighting efforts face a major hurdle: Hiring firefighters

SALEM, Ore. – The United States government has committed a record-setting amount of money to fighting wildfires this year during what promises to be a busy season, but it remains unclear whether the number of firefighters needed will be available amid a nationwide labor crunch.

With a busy start to the fire season in the Southwest and drought fueling high wildfire danger from the Great Plains to Northern California, federal officials are scrambling to hire roughly 16,900 fire personnel that include hotshots, smokejumpers and helitack crews, which are groups of firefighters that are flown in on helicopters to wildfires.