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When smokejumper Tim Hart died from injuries sustained during a hard landing in New Mexico in May, his wife Michelle Hart quickly realized that she needed a way to channel her grief. She also realized she was in a unique position to draw attention to the needs of wildland firefighters—she had a personal connection to the issues facing them, and as a lobbyist, she also had the legislative chops to make legitimate change at a congressional level. This all culminated in the creation of the Tim Hart Wildland Firefighter Classification and Pay Parity Act, which addresses firefighter compensation, benefits, access to mental health resources and availability of housing for firefighters, among other provisions.

We spoke with Michelle about the bill and the grief that influenced its creation back in November. They've continued garnering support for the bill, though not much as changed with the bill since when we chatted with Michelle. As of January 19, the bill has been referred to the subcommittee on Conservation and Forestry, where it awaits support from the senate.

This media record is part of a series:

Life With Fire

From the Life With Fire website: "What are the benefits of prescribed burning? Why have wildfires gotten so severe lately? How can I help protect my home and community? Life With Fire podcast aims to answer these questions (and many others) while deepening our understanding of the critical role fire plays in America’s forests, lands and communities. Hosted by writer and former wildland firefighter Amanda Monthei, Life with Fire features interviews with everyone from scientists to fire management experts to Indigenous practitioners and folks doing the work on the ground. Through these interviews, Amanda hopes to explore our relationship with fire, as well as ways we can better coexist with it in the future."

Media Record Details

Jan 19, 2022
Michelle Hart

Cataloging Information

Fire Communication & Education
Human Dimensions of Fire Management
Human Factors of Firefighter Safety
Wildland Firefighter Health

NRFSN number: 24270
Record updated:
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