- Associated Press - Thursday, January 12, 2017

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - State firefighters are slated for raises as high as 13.8 percent this year as California scrambles to fill widespread vacancies before the summer fire season.

Details of the proposed four-year contract released this week show the top raises will go to paramedics, who have a high turnover rate.

Other veteran Department of Forestry and Fire Protection employees will also get sizable boosts to compensate for a higher minimum wage paid to entry-level firefighters.

The agreement comes four months after firefighters rallied at the state Capitol to protest low wages and long work hours.

A 2014 study found state firefighters receiving about one-third less in pay and benefits than local firefighters.

The department is responsible for preventing and fighting wildfires outside urban and suburban areas across about a third of California.

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