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May 28, 2013

Tester fights to keep fire fighters on the job

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(MISSOULA, Mont.) - As fire season begins, Senator Jon Tester is fighting to make sure wildland fire fighters can stay on the job and protect families and communities across the west.

Tester plans to introduce a bill to recognize the experience of wildland fire fighters and other seasonal workers as they apply to fill open permanent positions within federal land management agencies, like the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management.

Seasonal workers are currently forced to quit their jobs once they reach their annual limit of hours worked. That can lead to a shortage of trained firefighters late in fire season.

"Wildfires don't operate on our schedule, and we need to make sure the folks who manage our outdoors have the resources they need to keep us safe," said Tester, chairman of the subcommittee that oversees the federal workforce. "This bill will make sure that trained, experienced workers can stay on the job when they are needed the most."

Tester's bill could also save the government money since seasonal workers are currently replaced by more expensive contract workers.

During a visit on Tuesday to the Smokejumpers Center in Missoula, Tester talked with firefighters preparing for this year's fire season.

Tester recently called out the U.S. Forest Service for contracting with seven next-generation fire fighting air tankers that might not be ready until late into fire season.

Tester's Land Mangement Workforce Flexibility Act by les_braswell5524

Office Contact Information

Senator Tester's Montana staff serves the state from offices in Billings, Bozeman, Butte, Glendive, Great Falls, Helena, Kalispell, and Missoula. Please bring your concerns with federal agencies, academy nominations, and other situations to one of these Montana offices.

Billings

Judge Jameson Federal Building
2900 4th Ave N, Suite 201
Billings, MT 59101
Phone: (406) 252-0550
Fax: (406) 252-7768

Bozeman

Avant Courier Building
1 E Main Street, Suite 202
Bozeman, MT 59715
Phone: (406) 586-4450
Fax: (406) 586-7647

Butte

Silver Bow Center
125 W Granite, Suite 200
Butte, MT 59701
Phone: (406) 723-3277
Fax: (406) 782-4717

Glendive

122 W Towne
Glendive, MT 59330
Phone: (406) 365-2391
Fax: (406) 365-8836

Great Falls

119 1st Avenue N, Suite 102
Great Falls, MT 59401
Phone: (406) 452-9585
Fax: (406) 452-9586

Helena

Capital One Center
208 N Montana Avenue, Suite 202
Helena, MT 59601
Phone: (406) 449-5401
Fax: (406) 449-5462

Kalispell

14 Third Street E, Suite 230
Kalispell, MT 59901
Phone: (406) 257-3360
Fax: (406) 257-3974

Missoula

130 W Front Street
Missoula, MT 59802
Phone: (406) 728-3003
Fax: (406) 728-2193

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