It's already been another busy wildfire season in Southern California.
So far in 2016, Cal Fire San Diego has responded to almost 250 wildland fires. Those firefighters are joining a state-wide effort, in hopes of having their voices heard for better pay and hours.
Members of the Cal Fire Union, representing 6,000 state employed firefighters, lined the streets in front of the Capitol in Sacramento Monday, hoping to create change.
"Our message is plain and simple. That our members are not getting paid for the job that they're doing, protecting the citizens of California," said Cal Fire Union President Mike Lopez.
Firefighters from Cal Fire San Diego also made the trip north, passionate about their message.
Local firefighter Randy Scales told NBC 7 that the long hours matched with the low pay is just not enough.
"At some point we have to say enough is enough; and look, I got to get home and take care of business with my family," Scales said.
The union argues their firefighters are paid much less compared to other agencies.
Firefighters in the 20 largest agencies in the state with more than 75 personnel, can earn up to $8,700 a month in gross base pay before retirement and benefits are taken out, compared with a Cal Fire Captain who earns up to $4,600 a month. Cal Fire is also putting in more hours.
"Over a 30 year career, a Cal Fire firefighter works five extra years because of the schedule they're working than any other state employee," said Lopez.
Some firefighters reported working three weeks straight with no time off; and because of that, many are leaving Cal Fire, creating a shortage state-wide.
"With the staffing patterns going on, and to try to get enough personnel on these fires going on out there, there is nobody to come in. It gets to be 'Enough is enough' at times," Scales said.
The union is currently in a reopener stage of the contract to California Department of Human Resources, meaning members are able to request higher wages.
The department issued the following statements:
Regarding the status of negotiations:
"The state is actively engaged in bargaining and looks forward to continued meaningful negotiations with our labor partners. Out of respect for the process, we do not comment on specific bargaining points or the status of negotiations."
Regarding the salary requests of the union:
"Our state firefighters are everyday heroes and are valued civil servants. However, when considering compensation the state must balance the needs of 21 distinct bargaining units with the overall state budget."