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  1. #1
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    Post Guidance: Becoming a Smokejumper/Hotshot

    First off I want to thank whoever reads this and helps me out, I really appreciate it. I'm an eighteen year old boy in Southern California and I have goal of becoming either a smokejumper or hotshot crew member. I've been looking into any opportunity I can to help build my resume/experience but I've reached a fork in the road where I don't know which way to go. This summer I received my EMT-B in the state of California but besides that I have do not have any certs or experience on a crew. I was in an Explorer post but I'm leaving soon for my college so I can't continue it. I've tried to find local stations to volunteer at but at least in my area volunteering is almost nonexistent. Currently I'm also in dispute if I want to work in Oregon or California and because of the different certifications I have no clue what my next step for should be. I'm majoring in Forestry and minoring in Wildfire management and at college will be getting my wilderness first responder and first aid in the winter just to make sure I have them. Besides that the only available time for me to get experience or certifications will be in summer. I've looked at volunteering around my college but I'm waiting to get up there to see how I can manage school, sports, and philanthropy before I add on Fire.

    What certifications are required to be hired on as a hotshot/smokejumper? In CalFire I've seen the CDF 67 wildland cert and the hazmat but in other states (Oregon especially) are there different certs? A problem I've found is that since I am leaving for college I can't attend a fall, winter, or spring academy so there aren't many options for me to get the CDF 67. Does anyone know of any summer wildland academies besides SLO and chabot? Also what are the requirements to receive your FF-1 because at local colleges you have to take certain classes before you can take your academy (I'm confused about this and any clarification would be helpful)?

    Lastly what would you recommend I do to help my chances of becoming a hotshot/smokejumper? I know this is a broad question but it would mean a lot to me for any answer just to help see my options. Thanks again.


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  3. #3
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    Cool My Understanding.....

    My understanding on how to become a Smoke Jumper is that you get the minimum qualifications, do your time, pass their physical testing/candidate physical abilities testing and then join the "best of the best" upon completion.....
    "Be LOUD, Be PROUD..... It just might save your can someday when goin' through an intersection!!!!!"

    Life on the Truck (Quint) is good.....

    Eat til you're sleepy..... Sleep til you're hungry..... And repeat.....

  4. #4
    Back In Black ChiefKN's Avatar
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    Get on a hotshot crew and kick some butt.

    Prove that you have what it takes and then perhaps you'll get a chance as a smokejumper.
    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

    "The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."

    "When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water."

  5. #5
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    Fire49 thanks those threads helped.

    How strict is the weight limit for jumping? It's 200 pounds correct?

    ChiefKN: How would i get hired on to a hotshot crew though? I know you have to have a few seasons on a hand crew before you can get onto a hotshot crew. Also I heard i need to get S-130, S-190, I-100 and then my FF-2 but I don't know how to do it in the summer. Is there a way to take a "crash" course for FF-1 & FF-2 in Oregon or California during that time that I'll have between college?

  6. #6
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    Course work online and two weeks onsite


    http://www.trainingdivision.com/fire...ghter-academy/

  7. #7
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    Fire49 your help is amazing. You've helped me clear up a lot of things. I've never heard of that course it but it sounds amazing. What have you heard about it? I was looking into it and it's IFSAC but i couldn't tell if Oregon and California is IFSAC now. I've seen earlier threads about IFSAC but the pdfs and links i've been looking at say a college/fire department list and then the membership type of "voting". Is IFSAC at the point where it's certifications are accepted for all states?

    Also what other extra certs are compatible, make a person more desirable as a hotshot?

  8. #8
    Forum Member RxFire's Avatar
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    In the wildland world of the feds (NWCG), FFT2 (Firefighter type 2) is entry level whereas FF2 in structure (NFPA) is advanced. These 2 just share the name... very different levels in reality.

    The feds will give you your entry level training (not sure exactly what SoCal does - if they hire only those who have S-130, S-190, S-100 it can be a screening factor in the hiring) but most other places will.

    Read all the old threads in the wildland area of FH...

    Apply for many places.. often people like to stay close to home.. but if you are wanting the job bad enough... be willing to move for the summer to places like middle of nowhere Nevada/Wyoming/Oregon.. etc. If your heart is set on being on a handcrew, apply that way. But keep your options open... if offered an engine crewmember position, you probably should take it.

    The Forest Service hires off of AVUE, the BLM/NPS/FWS off of USAJOBS... DIFFERENT SYSTEMS! The announcements and application process is virtually the same though.

    Contractors - They've come a long way from the days of past. They are predominately in Oregon. Here is a list of some.

    Good Luck.
    IACOJ
    Stopping controlled burning DOES NOT stop the burning, only the control!
    http://www.wy.blm.gov/fireuse/fums.htm

  9. #9
    Forum Member FirstDue52's Avatar
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    The CDF 67 you are referring to is much different from the Feds. FYI CAL-FIRE neither has hot shots or smoke jumpers. The inmate crews would be the closest thing to a hot shot crew. CAL-FIRE runs helitack crews on copters. They are stationed at the station with the engine crew and respond to incidents on the copter. I definitely agree on getting your S-130, S-190, S-100 which are the basic wildland classes. Being on a hot shot crew would be a good place to start your career. Always look forward the future and take any opportunity to better yourself by education and experience.

  10. #10
    Xan
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    If your goal is to truly be a hotshot or a smokejumper, then you will probably have to make yourself more available during the "off season" (late fall, winter, and spring) for classes. If you are interested, PM me and I can give you some information about a shot crew (maybe in your area) hiring for next season. They typically hire people without experience or certs and have them go through an academy which would provide the basic NWCG certs.

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