Well to be honest its tough. Everyone thinks CAL FIRE is easy to get hired on as a seasonal but in fact it really isn't. I have been trying for 5 years and finally got picked up. I know a lot of departments out in California don't accept FF1 or 2 if it isn't from a California Accredited Academy or if its not a California State Fire Marshall FF1. I know in the interview and background process for Sacramento City, a buddy of mine who worked for Truck 2 for Seattle, WA they told him they wouldn't accept his certifications because they weren't California Accredited. For CALFIRE, they don't really look for NIMS. The things they look for is EMT, Hazardous Materials First Responder Operational ( HAZMAT FRO), Confined Space Awareness, and CALFIRE 69 hour basic wildland firefighter cert. From what I was told, without those you wont even get a interview for certain units. Some units request those and a FF1. But I would say apply Nov 1st to Jan 31st. You never know until you try. There are thousands of people going for maybe 100 positions throughout the state. if you want a wild land job, your best bet is through the feds. BLM and US Forest Service. If you have any questions, feel free to ask.
I agree with Gino's comments, your best bet is to seek a job with one of the Federal agencies, and then seek employment with Calfire or one of the county departments with seasonal fire crews. You might even decide to stay and make a career with the Feds, many of us have.
Wildland fire jobs are getting very competitive between higher visibility, the economy and tons of military veterans re-entering the civilian work force. Calfire has excellent pay and benefits and usually fewer vacancies than the Feds so it has gotten quite hard to get into without a pretty solid resume of training and experience.
I would make every effort to get your Basic 32 - S130 Basic Firefighter, S-190 Intro to wildland fire behavior, I-100 intro to ICS and L-180 Human factors. This is a week long (or couple of weekends) class and should be available through the Minnesota Division of Forestry or US Forest Service. Without the Basic 32 you will not be competitive, as you are putting additional work on potential employers.
Calfire has its own version of this class which they require so while it may seem redundant you will want to get that after you move to California. As a California specific class it will be impossible to find out of state.
My buddy was just hired for a BLM Hand crew in Red Rock,NV ( Las Vegas). He loves it so far. The only qualifications he had was his wild land red card. Which is the basic 32.
The main cert that CAL FIRE looks for is the 67 hour academy also called CAL FIRE Basic Firefighter Training, because all CAL FIRE employees are required to have this cert of be on state equipment. Not a lot of units host these trainings anymore and most colleges only offer it as part of their FF1 academy. And like I said you can not work for CAL FIRE without it.
I had an interview with cal fire and I received a 2 on the interview rank. What does this mean? I have my FF1 and FF2, EMT-b, Haz-Mat ops, NIMS certs, and am currently on a fire department. I know I don't have the 67 wildland cert but what do you think my chances are?