1. #1
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    Default Starting over. Is it possible?

    Hello all. I was involved in wildland fire from 1995-2001 in the NW United States for a state and one federal agency. I say 2001 even though I didn't participate in the fire season because I spent some time doing non-suppression work into 2001. I managed to get a whole bundle of certifications including IC3 (was working on 2), STL, etc, etc, etc during my time and was an IA engine boss on a type 6 engine.

    Anyhow, during the winter break between the 2000 and 2001 fire seasons I had some issues and needed to get my head screwed on straight over some personal matters. Nothing illegal, drug related or anything of that nature. Just didn't belong on the lines and I knew it because of my state of mind. So I declined to return for the 2001 season. Well, one season became two and two became three and before long 10 years has passed.

    When I stopped I was 26 years old, now I'm 36 and I've been working in IT for the past 7 years but it bores the snot out of me so I started looking into what I really want to do and returning to wildland fire is it.

    I guess I'm looking for words of advice/encouragement from those who have done this before (wildland or structure). Also wondering what I should expect from the hiring process. Do I have a "leg up" in any way shape or form or have I been out of it for so long that I'm at the bottom of the pile as far as hiring goes? I certainly don't expect to be an engine boss or STL, etc.

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    Dude, it is totally possible. Anything you want and are willing to work hard for is possible.

    I am 35 and on a shot crew. I started fire 2 seasons ago when I was 33 in the 08 season. I have a degree and worked in that respective career for years until I got bored. I applied to, I believe, 77 different positions- got a job and love it.

    As long as you are in fire line shape and have the mindset to do the work you can get back into it.

    It is getting down to the wire. I believe all early consideration dates would be past by now. However, there may still be job listings open. just go to usajobs.gov and search range tech or BLM-FIRE-2010. If you are willing to move to where the job is, it will increase your chances, but you have to move as it looks as though most are closing in the next couple of days.

    Good Luck

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    BLM,

    Thanks for the reply. Over the past 2 weeks I've been applying like a madman at state and federal agencies (BLM, NPS, USFS). Had one call from the USFS so far. Hopefully more to follow. I've put out about 40 application so far with multiple locations on each one so something's bound to "break".

    I guess the next step is to start calling the FMO's and hiring managers at the various places I've applied and try to get some name recognition.

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    Good on Ya! Yup, I would call and be sure they have seen your app. Due to the computerization of things, not all apps make it where they are suppose to go. A couple of omitted key words, improperly done sections, etc and the app gets sidetracked into never never land. If you have USFS calling you- you are likely fine. That Avue can be unforgiving. Keep it up and I hope to see you on the line. Where are you hoping to get on with?

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    Quote Originally Posted by BLM Shot View Post
    Good on Ya! Yup, I would call and be sure they have seen your app. Due to the computerization of things, not all apps make it where they are suppose to go. A couple of omitted key words, improperly done sections, etc and the app gets sidetracked into never never land. If you have USFS calling you- you are likely fine. That Avue can be unforgiving. Keep it up and I hope to see you on the line. Where are you hoping to get on with?
    At this point I'm hoping to get on with anyone (federal) who will take me. Then I'll start being "picky" once I get there. My brother works for the BLM and his wife works for the USFS so I could probably try pulling that card if need be, but hoping not to have to ask them for that favor.

    And you're absolutely right about that Avue being unforgiving. I somehow have enough experience/qualification to meet minimum requirements up to GS7 for most positions but can't get my application for dispatch beyond the GS2 level. Not that I particularly want to dispatch, but a foot in the door is a foot in the door.

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    I started out as a structure firefighter (age 18)(paid on call and career) (1990 - 1998), then moved down to Florida and started with the Division of Forestry at the age of 35 (tractor & engine operator)
    "If you can't be a good example, the you'll just have to be a terrible warning."

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    Yeah, go for it. One thing that comes to mind, if you do not perform certain jobs within a certain time frame, I am almost certain you have to start again near the bottom. IC Type 3 and higher I know you have to perform a tour every 3 or 5 years after taskbook completion. Since you havent been active in 10 years, you probably was just beginning to see taskbooks then?

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    @RangerJake72 - How long of a gap, if any did you have between the structural and the wildland? I've actually got a job announcement for an opening in Florida in front of me.

    @farmerfire1156 - Yep, pretty much have to start over at the very bottom on all things. That's ok I still retain some of the head knowledge just have to go out and apply it for the first time in 10 years. I had seen a couple of years of task books when I stopped doing it. Everywhere you went people wanted to see your task book and sign off whatever they could for you.

    I'm actually pretty amazed at how receptive the people I've contacted have been to me. I work in the IT industry right now and if I left for 10 years and tried to get back in it would be hell. They'd all be like "Oh, you left for 10 years. Well you must not have liked it very much to begin with. Go away, and prove your dedication to someone else for a few years then come talk to us"

    That's the type of reaction of was expecting from the FMOs and hiring managers in the wildland scene. Nice to know I was wrong.

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    return it was 14 - 15 years between my structural time in Massachusetts and when I was hired by Florida. prior wildland certs and experience will count for you, as does heavy equipment operation and structural fire experience, we run our own training academy, including structural Firefighter 1, all the wildland classes (S-130, 131, 133, 190, L-180 IS-200, S-270) and First Responder & CPR in a 9 week academy
    "If you can't be a good example, the you'll just have to be a terrible warning."

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    Quote Originally Posted by RangerJake72 View Post
    return it was 14 - 15 years between my structural time in Massachusetts and when I was hired by Florida. prior wildland certs and experience will count for you, as does heavy equipment operation and structural fire experience, we run our own training academy, including structural Firefighter 1, all the wildland classes (S-130, 131, 133, 190, L-180 IS-200, S-270) and First Responder & CPR in a 9 week academy
    Well wish me luck because I just applied for a position as a Forest Ranger with the Florida Division of Forestry. It's kind of uncanny actually because I'm currently in Massachusetts as well. Not a lot of fires around here from the looks of it.

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    well good luck, out of curiosity which district are you applying to?
    "If you can't be a good example, the you'll just have to be a terrible warning."

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    Quote Originally Posted by RangerJake72 View Post
    well good luck, out of curiosity which district are you applying to?
    Thanks. I've applied for the Okeechobee district out of St. Lucie. Been trying to learn as much as I can about how FL-DoF handles wildland fires in general and what to expect in that particular area. The vast majority of my experience is in R5 and R6 so R8 is a whole new world to me.

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    okeechobee would be to my east, I work out of Myakka River District, Punta Gorda Forestry Station, IN Southern Charlotte County. You will find we are primarily a mechanized force, almost all of our firefighting is done with medium dozers with a trail fire plow as well as brush trucks. the training is the same basics you would get anywhere, with emphasis on how they apply to Florida's climate, terrain and vegetation (green burns here!!) We tend to be much more spread out for our response area (often only one or two stations per county) so response times tend to be long (bearing in mind that the local fire departments will be on scene, and sometimes local landowners as well)

    If you have any more questions, you ought to stop by any Forestry stations to talk to the Rangers there, every district and area has its own unique flavor
    "If you can't be a good example, the you'll just have to be a terrible warning."

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    Thanks RangerJake.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RangerJake72 View Post
    okeechobee would be to my east, I work out of Myakka River District, Punta Gorda Forestry Station, IN Southern Charlotte County. You will find we are primarily a mechanized force, almost all of our firefighting is done with medium dozers with a trail fire plow as well as brush trucks. the training is the same basics you would get anywhere, with emphasis on how they apply to Florida's climate, terrain and vegetation (green burns here!!) We tend to be much more spread out for our response area (often only one or two stations per county) so response times tend to be long (bearing in mind that the local fire departments will be on scene, and sometimes local landowners as well)

    If you have any more questions, you ought to stop by any Forestry stations to talk to the Rangers there, every district and area has its own unique flavor
    I've been invited to interview down in Fl. next week for a position. Of course I said yes.

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    return well good luck, there may be a few more positions opening up in Okechobee district, we're getting a few transfer out of them (though the do seem to run fires, and do a lot of prescribed burning, just no state lands to manage)
    "If you can't be a good example, the you'll just have to be a terrible warning."

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    Quote Originally Posted by RangerJake72 View Post
    return well good luck, there may be a few more positions opening up in Okechobee district, we're getting a few transfer out of them (though the do seem to run fires, and do a lot of prescribed burning, just no state lands to manage)
    Yeah they actually have two positions open instead of the one that was announced in the job opening notification. At least that is what I know of.

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