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Firefighter dies battling devastating California wildfires

A firefighter has died battling huge infernos raging across forests in California.

David Ruhl, 38, was in a vehicle in the Modoc National Forest when crews lost contact with him.

An investigation is underway into how he died.

An investigation is underway into how firefighter David Ruhl died. Credit: Reuters

Hundreds of people have been forced to evacuate their homes during the wildfires, with around 9,000 firefighters working to bring the flames under control.

The fires prompted Governor Jerry Brown to declare a state of emergency for California and activate the California National Guard to help with disaster recovery.

Fire Brigades Union confirms 24-hour strike over pensions

The Fire Brigades Union has confirmed firefighters in England will stage a 24-hour strike on February 25 in their long-running row over pensions.

Firefighters in a one-day strike in December. Credit: PA

A government official said all fire and rescue authorities have "robust and well-tested" plans in place that include back up support if needed.

The 24-hour strike will coincide with a rally and protest in Westminster.

Firefighters strike in pensions row

File photo: Firefighters on strike in 2010 Credit: PA Archive

Firefighters in England have walked out on strike for the weekend as their bitter row with the government over pay continues, ahead of several fireworks displays across the country.

Members of the Fire Brigades Union in England left their stations at 6pm yesterday and will not return until 6pm on Tuesday, the evening before Bonfire Night.

Picket lines were mounted outside fire stations, and will continue throughout the next few days.

Fire brigades again launched contingency plans, including hiring contract staff to cover for striking firefighters, but the public were warned to be extra vigilant, especially if they attend a firework event.

The Government has been accused of showing "contempt" for public sector workers amid continued deadlock in the long-running dispute in England.

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Firefighters over 55 who fail safety test 'face the sack'

Firefighters who are over the age of 55 and fail a vital fitness test "face the sack", a union chief warned Good Morning Britain.

Sean Starbuck from the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) said despite evidence showing 66% of firefighters between 55 and 60 would not be fit enough to rescue people from a burning victim, the government were insisting they work until 60.

Mr Starbuck said today's strike was about getting a fair deal on pensions - which they had already got in Northern Ireland and Scotland.

Govt: Firefighters have 'one of the best pensions'

The Government has criticised the looming firefighters strike as they have "one of the best pensions in the public sector", according to one minister.

Fire Minister Brandon Lewis said:

Firefighters will still have one of the best pensions in the public sector.

New principles on fitness are already on the table with our backing and following a formal public consultation we have decided to make small changes to the scheme which allow us to improve the pension offer for firefighters who retire at age 55 or 56 so they are fairly rewarded, while those who work longer will rightly benefit for doing so.

– Brandon Lewis

Firefighters walk out over pensions and retirement age

Firefighters will launch a series of strikes throughout the week in their bitter dispute over pensions and the age at which they can retire, their union has said.

Firefighters on strike outside Soho fire station in London during the last walk out in June. Credit: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

Members of the Fire Brigades Union in Wales and England will stage short two hour walkouts from today for eight consecutive days, forcing brigades to implement contingency plans.

The dispute has rumbled on for over a year, as firefighters maintain forcing them to work into their 60s will put the public at risk.

London Fire Brigade urged parents to tell their children about the dangers of hoax calls as the industrial action coincides with school holidays.

The capital's fire commissioner Ron Dobson said: "Hoax calls waste our time and resources, but while the FBU is taking strike action and we only have contingency levels of cover it is even more important that we don't get any hoax calls."

Very important smokers 'dispose of cigarettes properly'

It is very important smokers "dispose of their cigarettes properly" this weekend during a seven hour walk-out by firefighters, the head of London fire brigade has warned.

The capital's fire commissioner, Ron Dobson, said his firefighters would not attend grass fires during the strike unless there was an imminent threat to someone's life or property:

A small spark from a cigarette is often all it takes to start a grass fire in these dry conditions so it really is important that smokers dispose of their cigarettes properly.

Drivers also need to take care not to throw cigarettes out of car windows as they can easily burn grass verges.

People barbecuing on open land should also make sure that they extinguish them properly when finished with.

There is contingency cover during the strike but it isn't a replacement for a normal service.

– Ron Dobson
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