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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release August 25, 2000


The wildfire season this year is one of the worst our nation has ever witnessed. We have marshaled our federal resources so that the men and women fighting these blazes will have the tools they need to safely and effectively combat the spread of wildfires throughout the United States. Our federal firefighters and management personnel are working under extremely dangerous conditions to protect the public and our lands from the threat of these wildfires.

Today, I am announcing that the Departments of the Interior and Agriculture, in conjunction with the Office of Personnel Management, will take immediate steps to make available as many as 2,000 federal personnel for vital management and supervisory positions to support our firefighting efforts. Additional managers and supervisors are needed to ensure additional firefighting crews have the proper supervision and management support that they need in the field. This action will immediately authorize individuals working long, stressful hours to be compensated appropriately. Our nation owes a great debt of gratitude to these firefighters, managers, and their loved ones who sacrifice their energy and risk their lives in service to their country. It is our responsibility, in turn, to do all we can to protect and support them.