Seasonal firefighters win federal health benefits

A fireman speaks on a walkie-talkie as a wildfire spreads around a residential area in Carlet, near Valencia, on July 1, 2012. Getty Images/German Garcia

(AP) The White House says about 8,000 temporary firefighters and their families will get access to federal health insurance following a petition drive bolstered by this year's historic fire season in the West.

The White House says about 8,000 temporary firefighters and their families will get access to federal health insurance following a petition drive bolstered by this year's historic fire season in the West.

President Barack Obama says the nation has been inspired by the heroism of firefighters battling deadly wildfires this summer. Obama says he has directed his administration to ensure the firefighters "can count on the care and protection they need."

The temporary firefighters weren't covered by federal health insurance because under federal rules, temporary seasonal employees can't buy into federal insurance plans.

Seasonal firefighters seek health insurance

Members of a South Dakota-based hotshot crew who fought wildfires this year launched a petition drive seeking the health benefits and gathered more than 125,000 signatures.

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