The Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee continues it’s work at the Statehouse this week. The job they are doing now sets the table for when the legislature gets going again in January.
One of the things being considered is the Idaho Department of Lands officials are asking for a 28% increase in state general fund spending.
The Idaho Capitol Sun reports, the money would go toward paying for eight new engine bosses, three new fire management officers, opening a new Clearwater Fire District in eastern Idaho, buying fire and drone equipment and increasing seasonal firefighter pay to $15 per hour to match what the federal government pays.
The Idaho Department of Lands says in the end, they believe the increases are needed to modernize the department’s wildfire program and be better prepared to respond to larger and more frequent fires that officials are bracing for.