An analysis of '24-hour pay' for forest fire suppression personnel
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): Krista M. Gebert; Ervin G. Schuster
Publication Year: 2002

Cataloging Information

  • environmental management
  • fire management
  • fire management planning
  • fire suppression
  • firefighter pay
  • firefighters
  • firefighting personnel
  • forest management
  • forests
  • natural resource management
  • pay systems
  • suppression
  • US Forest Service
  • wildfires
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: June 1, 2018
FRAMES Record Number: 4110
Tall Timbers Record Number: 15151
TTRS Location Status: In-file
TTRS Call Number: Fire File
TTRS Abstract Status: Okay, Fair use, Reproduced by permission

This bibliographic record was either created or modified by the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy and is provided without charge to promote research and education in Fire Ecology. The E.V. Komarek Fire Ecology Database is the intellectual property of the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy.


This study estimates the overall percentage difference in total personnel compensation between the current pay system for forest fire suppression and a system of 24-hour pay, where employees are paid their regular rate of pay for 24 hours per day while on fire duty. Using a random sample of USDA Forest Service employees, divided among fire types, pay grades, and job types, we simulated the effect of 24-hour pay by recalculating pay from actual pay records. We also investigated how changes in shift length (the number of hours worked in a 24-hour period) and hazard pay rates would affect compensation and how changing the pay system would affect different types of employees. Findings show that changing to a system of 24-hour pay would result in a substantial increase in salary costs. Restricting shift length to 12 or 14 hours further increases salary costs under 24-hour pay, as does the addition of hazard pay. In addition, increased employee compensation under 24-hour pay is unevenly distributed among job categories and pay grades.

Online Link(s):
Gebert, Krista M.; Schuster, Ervin G. 2002. An analysis of '24-hour pay' for forest fire suppression personnel. Western Journal of Applied Forestry 17(4):183-188.