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Western wildfires also hurt Minnesota

They destroy homes and communities, harm natural and cultural resources ... reduce the risk of future megafires and still benefit from conservation and other programs here in Minnesota. The Senate this fall introduced the Wildfire Disaster Funding Act ...

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We know that firefighting costs are going to continue to riseAnd under the government’s current funding structure, the U.Scan’t keep up. We need to not only fight wildfires, but also fund conservation programs across the countryAnd we need to keep our forests healthy to prevent fires — and to protect our land, property and people in Minnesota and across America.To learn more or to take action on wildfire, go here. Peggy Ladner is the director of The Nature Conservancy in Minnesota.WANT TO ADD YOUR VOICE?If you're interested in joining the discussion, add your voice to the Comment section below — or consider writing a letter or a longer-form Community Voices commentary(For more information about Community Voices, see our Submission Guidelines.) Email Share Tweet Print Get MinnPost's top stories in your inbox First Name: * Enter your first name. Last Name: * Enter your last name. Email address: * Enter the email you would like to sign up with. Subscribe to these regular newsletters: Daily newsletter Sunday review Greater Minnesota newsletter D.CMemo Subscribe Now Leave this field blank: Login or register to post comments Email Share Tweet Print Comments (1) Wildfire resources Submitted by Dana Linscott on December 4, 2017 - 11:57am Minnesota is also hurt by treating most of its firefighters as "emergency hires" rather than employeesThese firefighters are not covered by ANY of the fair employment laws passed since the 1930sAs a result they are not covered by unemployment insurance or even the cost of injuries on the firelineThey are technically conscripts hired under an old law/loophole which allows the DNR to REQUIRE that anyone they need to fight a fire can be prosecuted for refusing to do soIt is a VERY iffy loophole but most firefighters cannot fight itMainly because most do not realize they are not regular employeesUnfortunately the DNR "conveniently" forgets in most cases to inform prospective firefighters of this not insignificant provision in their "employment"I was a wildfire fighter for MN for over 15 years before I discovered that I was not covered by the "Fair Employment Act"And like most wildfire fighters that think they are seasonal hires I ONLY discovered I was a conscript when I attempted to apply for unemployment compensation because my "off season" employer was unable to re-hire me after a very long fire seasonFortunately after that more and more "older" firefighters took it upon themselves to inform newbys that was the situation ASAPSeveral of us were blackballed by the DNR because of that effort As a result most experienced wild fire fighters trained in MN go to other states that treat them in a more fair manner after only a few seasonsAs a result the MNDNR has seen its expenditures on helicopters and water bomber use increase year after year to make up for that deficit in experienced wildland firefighters BTW..even when MN firefighters go to work on western fires they are still not covered any better by the Feds...who I suspect use some similar ploy to keep the fire budget lower than it would be otherwiseUnfortunately treating wildfire SEASON like other disasters is likely to not improve the situationBut treating the firefighting force as professionals (or even regular employees) instead of conscripts might. 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