1. #1
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Dec 2011

    Default Most $ made in a fire season?

    What was the most money you made in 1 fire season? What location of the United States did you work.

    Also, were you on a hotshot crew, hand crew, fuels crew or engine crew?

    This question is mainly directed towards federal wildland firefighters.

  2. #2
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Apr 2012


    Contract Engine Boss here. During my first year as Engine Boss in 2007 I had a daily rate of $325. I had a fairly good season and earned around $15,000 with only 1.5 months on the fireline. Since then my daily rate has gone up to $500, so if I have a similar season I would earn around $23,000 in 1.5 months. A full three months on the fireline would be over $40,000.

  3. #3
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    May 2012
    Northern California


    Assuming you are curious what you could make if you work as a seasonal for one of the agencies.

    I don't think you will really get a meaningful answer just based on $$$ because it is really apples and oranges, there is a huge variety of factors, pay grade, qualifications etc, and the actual fire season plays a huge part.

    What I can tell you is that as a seasonal firefighter working a whole 5-6 month season for the US Forest Service in R3 (Arizona / New Mexico) or R5 (California) an engine crewmember can pretty regularly expect to work 200-500 hours of OT, a hotshot crew member 500-1000 hours of OT. A type 2 crew or helitack crew would fall somewhere in between.

    A GS-3 (usual for a 1st year seasonal) currently makes $12.74/hr, a GS-4 (usually 2nd year +) makes $13.41/hr. They work a 40 hour week.

    To answer your question, I really don't know what my best year was but I have made $70,000-80,000 in particularly good years. I'm an Engine Captain at the USFS in California so I work year round, not 6 months which adds considerably to the end of the year total.

  4. #4
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    JayDudley's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006

    Default $$'s

    I ran a Helo Ops trailer. $2,500 a day and the feds used it a lot. Mostly Montana and Idaho. A good season we had it out on the line for 64 days total.
    Jay Dudley
    Retired Fire
    Background Investigator
    Lifetime Member CSFA
    IAFF Alumni Member

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