Before wildfire season flares up, Senator Jon Tester wants to make sure that experienced firefighters are on the front lines and can advance in their careers.

Tester has introduced the Land Management Workforce Flexibility Act to allow temporary seasonal wildland firefighters to compete for vacant permanent positions in the federal workforce.  Firefighters and other seasonal land management employees are currently cut off from many career advancement opportunities available to permanent seasonal employees. The bill removes barriers in the current hiring system that lead to higher training costs and a less safe workforce.

“When wildfires strike, Montanans want the best, most experienced men and women on the ground protecting our communities,” Tester said.  “This bill will ensure that important agencies have the best possible workforce while also giving folks the chance to make a stable living for themselves and their families.”

Tester’s bill affects employees who work for the Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the National Park Service, the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Reclamation, and Bureau of Indian Affairs.  To be eligible, employees must accrue four seasons of work with good performance.