“Unskilled Labor” is a documentary about the 2020 fire season from the Sawtooth Hotshots’ point of view. The video allows the watcher to experience a wildfire as a wildland firefighter. It shows the daily crew life of working as a hotshot wildland firefighter.
In July, firefighters online and across the United States weighed in to criticize U.S. Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Elk Grove, for a remark the Mother Lode congressman made in a July 1 Union Democrat article, that wildfire firefighting “is not skilled labor.”
His remark first appeared in the July 1 edition of The Union Democrat in a story about how the Stanislaus National Forest is operating with just 75% of its full contingent for fire staffing, in part because other fire agencies offer better pay and benefits than the U.S. Forest Service, according to the Union Democrat.
McClintock tried to clarify his remark in a letter to the editor that appeared in the July 10 edition of the newspaper. According to the publication, firefighters have continued a firestorm of criticism online and contacted The Union Democrat to criticize the first apology. McClintock was later quoted saying in response to his statement:
“It was a poor choice of words, for which I apologize.”