Letter to the Editor: They need more than “thank you” signs

I see signs everywhere thanking our firefighting personnel. These are nice but they won’t pay the bills. These crews are facing fires unprecedented in history, fires that travel 70 miles an hour at 4000 degrees and create their own weather. When air support can’t fly, the ground crews are our line of defense.
In the process of saving our forests, towns, and houses they put their lives on the line for us. ( i.e. one fire captain 6’6″ 200+ pounds was thrown 200 feet by such a tornado in a previous incident).  At a time when we are desperate for these fighters, they have to face economic reality and are having to quit.
Hot Shots that make approximately 38,000/year are hoping to get jobs with CalFire at over 78,000/year (100,000+/year with overtime).  New recruits to the Forest Service make 13.00/hr and change, less that McDonald’s employees.  One of the supervisors told me he has worked for the Forest Service for 13 years and makes 51,000/year, which barely covers the bills.  He relies on his overtime to feed his family of 4.  He stays because he loves what he does at a loss of precious time with his family. What’s wrong with this picture.  EVERYTHING!!
He suggested we contact Doug LaMalfa, Diane Feinstein, etc.  Let’s keep the signs and back them up with a demand to take a portion of our tax dollars and pay these warriors what they deserve.  What is a home or town worth to us.  That would be the Thank You they really need.
Joan Carter
Greenville