1. #1
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    Default wildland firefighting???

    Hey guys, im kickin around the idea for doing some wildland for a while to get a little more experence in the fire service. Any info would be helpfull. Plz share your comments/suggestions with me! thx.

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    Its one of the best jobs around, aside from the downsides of it. What exactly do you wanna know?
    Courage, Being Scared to Death and Saddling Up anyways.

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    Honestly i have so many questions i don't know ware to start lol. Whats the pay like? What kind of benefits do they offer. what kind of training/education/experience do they require? what do you do in the off season? what kind of shifts do your do when you are at work? Mind you im from Illinois...so what kind of opportunities do they have in the Midwest? How do i go about applying? Sorry for all the dumb questions but im really interested and what to know if this is the job for me. Thanks for the help.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bubba32 View Post
    Honestly i have so many questions i don't know ware to start lol. Whats the pay like? What kind of benefits do they offer. what kind of training/education/experience do they require? what do you do in the off season? what kind of shifts do your do when you are at work? Mind you im from Illinois...so what kind of opportunities do they have in the Midwest? How do i go about applying? Sorry for all the dumb questions but im really interested and what to know if this is the job for me. Thanks for the help.
    I cannot answer any of the following questions for you, but I can tell you that none of your questions are dumb questions, when you take an interest into something and don't know much about it, you need to ask these questions to pursue it. You also came to the right place to ask these questions as I'm sure we have a bunch of wildland firefighters here on the forums.

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    Thanks picc.Dc4.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bubba32 View Post
    Honestly i have so many questions i don't know ware to start lol. Whats the pay like? What kind of benefits do they offer. what kind of training/education/experience do they require? what do you do in the off season? what kind of shifts do your do when you are at work? Mind you im from Illinois...so what kind of opportunities do they have in the Midwest? How do i go about applying? Sorry for all the dumb questions but im really interested and what to know if this is the job for me. Thanks for the help.
    The pay varies, any where from $14 up to $22.

    Full Time FEDS get a Fairly decent benefits package, however i am not one so i can't tell you exactly what they get.

    During the Off season depending on how good of a Fire season you had some times you can go home and work for the Family or else you can kinda veg out for awhile.

    When you are working a uncontrolled fire be prepared to work alot of hours, however most times you won't more than 16 hours with out getting at least 8 hours of off time.

    I will answer more but i am strapped for time,
    Courage, Being Scared to Death and Saddling Up anyways.

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    Thanks bushwacker. Do you have any info on jobs that i can apply for? Or should i stay back till next season. I wouldnt tun down any seasonal work, however im looken for full time experence.

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    Default seasonal fire

    Bubba32
    When it comes to seasonal wildland fire there are a variety of routes you can go. The three main agencies involved would be the Forest Service, Dept of Agriculture, the Bureau of Land Management, Dept of Interior, then the National Park service, also Dept of Interior, oh and CalFire, CA state. There are also a number of other agencies, Bureau of Indian Affairs, etc., other state departments, and smaller. As well as private firms like PatRick and Greyback, or environmental companies/cooperatives like the Nature Conservancy.
    To find out a host of general knowledge visit the BLM or USFS web sites.
    The pay scales vary slightly between agencies, state vs. federal. Federal employees are rated on the GS scale, 0462 series. That info is also on the web. The pay may vary by region as adjusted. Generally the hourly rate for private firms is less. As is the training quality. Agency jobs put you through quite a bit of training especially your initial training. So you know the command and communication structure as well as the tools and techniques. That said you will receive additionally training from the module that hired you: smokejumper, hotshot, handcrew, smoke chase, engine, helirappel, etc.
    Generally seasonal crews do their hiring process through December to The top of March. Most try to nail down their employees by early February at the latest. Also, this season has marked a change in the manner in which hiring is completed in a few regions throughout the Forest Service. But most importantly, the squeaky wheel gets the grease. Like any other job if your just put in an application your likelyhood of getting a position is very slim. You've got to call call call, then plan a visit if you can, and be ready to go on a hike or run to show that you are in fact fit enough to do the job. The minimum requirement for agency work is the arduous pack test, carry 45lbs for 3miles in 45min or less. Not really too difficult. But many crews expect you to perform well above that in a number of other areas. If you are interested in more info look a some of the nation's hotshot crew websites and you can find more physical fitness demands. Keep in mind hotshot crews demand among the most for physical requirements from their crew members, as well as smoke jumpers.
    When it comes to work generally on incident shifts do not exceed 16 hours on with 8 hours off. This is mandated by agencies' own guidelines and widely accepted as the norm. In some instances the on shift time can exceed 16 hours but OSHA oversight has highlighted how this has led to some unfavorable situations. So expect to go off clock for at least half the amount of time you were on, called 2 to 1.
    Seasonal positions do not get benefits, other than the pay check. Which can be quite nice as with agency jobs and many other institutions you generally acquire hazard pay on uncontrolled fires (+25% of base) and after 8 hours overtime (+50% of base). Permanent positions do get benefits. They vary according to your own wishes or allocations. I don't know the specifics but I understand they are generally petty good.
    Applying for agency jobs starts with finding out what type of crew you would like to work for and where they are located. That info is also available on the web or by calling the individual departments. This is key because you kinda need to know where to apply. Because, agencies select their candidates through a nationwide hiring service database. You must login to the given website (usajobs.com or avuecentral.com) and fill out as much info in as much detail as possible. Paint a good picture of your accomplishments and experience. For each position you are applying for you must answer some additional information to be get rated as a qualified applicant. I know this all sounds like a lot, and to a newcomer it certainly can be. You may want to contact the centralized hiring department for some aid in navigating the seeming myriad of pages and questions through this process. Or try some organizations closely involved with wildland fire such as the Wildland Firefighter Foundation. This is for agency jobs which I recommend based on training and actually getting work. It is likely easier to get hired on to private firms but they are not guaranteed work and or a paycheck.
    I'm not sure what crews are in the midwest, but I'm sure you can find out by doing some searching on the web.
    You may have missed the boat for this season but you should do some more research to familiarize yourself with the various systems you are gonna have to navigate, as well as possible locations. Additionally, some crews may be doing late season hiring as some position become available, i.e. students leave or others move on, or just quit.
    Don't be discouraged!! I know it sounds like a lot. Often it is a dirty thankless job in which you are out there protecting resources most don't even know exist. But the opportunity to see and be in the multitude of different environments and locations is amazing. Not to mention the experience of working with a close knit group of people you will come to rely on throughout your daily existence during the season. Like them or not they are the ones out there feeling the same highs and lows and no one will care about you or the situation as much as they will. I myself have been in some situations that have been exceptionally awesome or extremely trying and I wouldn't trade any of it. The experiences you have will last a lifetime! I hope I've been able to answer your questions and give you some good insight, good luck. Remember, the best fire is the fire you are on.

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    Thanks for the great info! I will be doing a lot of research and thinking in the near future. Again THANK YOU ALL!!!

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