Sinema, Arizona Lawmakers Work to Ensure Federal Hiring Freeze Does Not Threaten Public Safety

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema (AZ-09) led a group of members, including Arizona Congressmen Tom O’Halleran (AZ-01), Andy Biggs (AZ-05), and Trent Franks (AZ-08), in sending a letter to the Office of Personnel Management requesting clarity on whether the administration’s federal employee hiring freeze prohibits the U.S. Forest Service from hiring seasonal firefighters for wildfire season.

“As members of Congress who represent states impacted annually by wildfires, we are concerned this hiring freeze may prohibit the U.S. Forest Service from hiring seasonal firefighters and other professionals in anticipation of wildfire season,” the members wrote.  “An inability to hire seasonal firefighters to combat wildfires seriously threatens public safety in our states.”

According to the National Federation of Federal Employees, the Forest Service hired at least 6,200 seasonal workers for firefighting or firefighting-related duties in 2015. These seasonal firefighters supplement state and local firefighters’ efforts to prepare for wildfire season and contain wildfires as they emerge. In order to ensure they are trained and ready for wildfire season, the Forest Service’s hiring process traditionally begins over the next several weeks with a series of job fairs in wildfire-prone states.

Read the full text of the letter below: 

Letter to OPM - Hiring Freeze Impact on U.S. Forest Service by RepSinema on Scribd