MEDFORD, Ore. – Oregon U.S. Senator Ron Wyden was in Medford Saturday, talking about fire season and federal firefighters.
Senator Wyden met with fire officials about the current wildfire outlook for Southern Oregon.
Wyden said this year’s fire season is expected to last well into October, with dry conditions and triple-digit temperatures, with the possibility of lightning strikes as soon as next week.
Senator Wyden said the temporary increase in federal firefighter pay is expiring this September. That could have a huge impact on firefighter staffing.
“We’ve got to pay these firefighters competitive rates. Once we get the funds locked down for this Fall, so we don’t lose them, then we have a plan for professionalizing the fire force, making it year-round,” said Ron Wyden (D).
Senator Wyden said federal funds are being put toward fire prevention, especially around towns and cities.
He said this region has had a lot of success with prescribed burns. More funding is being put toward prescribed burning to help prevent large wildfires in the future.
© 2023 KOBI-TV NBC5. All rights reserved unless otherwise stated.