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Thread: Wildfire engines

  1. #1
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    Default Wildfire engines

    I believe I am going to be picked up by an engine crew with the forest service and curious about somethings.
    1st they called and asked if I was still interested and when I could start and how long, told me they travel a lot and then said lets get a background check and your hired. I asked about interview and he said don't worry about it, our conversation over the phone was enough I want to hire you??? Weird

    They cover a small grassland land but said lots of travel involved, could that just be a tactic to fill the position?
    On a large fire what are duties of engines: do they join together and dig line, provide protection on roads, structure protection, all I can think of

    Any other advice from previous engine crews

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    Private of public employer ??

    Do you want the job?

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    Yeah I want the job, its with the forest service.

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    What you received was an Interest call, that basically was your interview. People apply from all over the nation with the Forest Service you're basically hired off of what you have on your Resume.

    Engines routinely fill resource orders and form strike teams for off forest assignments in or out of state. Engines are more of a "forest resource" while say a Hotshot crew is a national interagency resource.. Off forest assignments aren't uncommon.. As for what you're doing you could be putting in a hose lay, structure protection and I guess engines sometimes group together to cut hand line which is a little more rare, At least where I'm from.
    RangerJake72 likes this.

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    I gotcha I can see why they just hire based if resume. Where are you from?

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    I'm from a So Cal. Forest, also to be fair I should have said that I've never been on an Engine personally.. I have however worked with engines and work with guys that came from engines, it's a good place to start or finish depending on what you're interested in doing.

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    Sounds about right, seasonal employment with the USFS can be very informal, particularly if the area doesn't get a lot of interested applicants. If you have a decent resume, good reference checks and don't say something stupid that can be all there is to it. Keep in mind, they are only signing up to work with you for a few months. They are not heavily committed to you for the long run. If you work out, they can start to invest some effort in bringing you along and grooming you for longer term employment. If they don't like the cut of your jib, they can look for someone else next year.


    Consider yourself lucky, some areas such as California are getting very competitive.
    If you are working for one of the National Grasslands I would guess you will be on a Type 4 or Type 6 engine intended primarily for mobile attack on grass and brush fires.

    How much they travel is always a crap shoot. Engines can be away from home a lot, either through fire assignments or cooperative assignments with other units helping with prescribed burns, beefing up staffing in high severity conditions etc. Even busy modules have off years and spend most of the season sitting at home.

    On large fires engines do a lot of work. They can support crews doing firing operations (or even do the firing themselves), and there is almost always extensive mop up to be done. Structure prep and protection are fairly common assignments. Also very common to support handcrews with hoselays. I've helped put in hoselays exceeding 10,000 feet (almost 2 miles) although 2000-3000 feet is much more common.

    Engines are fully capable of doing "crew" work, running saws, cutting line, rehabbing line etc, particularly engine strike teams. While they can do this work it is not the most efficient use of an engine so usually only done if a crew is not available.

    Engines also get moved around a lot to do initial attack either enhancing local resources during high severity or to backfill behind engines committed elsewhere. It becomes a big chess game some summers with engines getting moved around all season in preparation for "the big one".
    Last edited by Here and there; 03-11-2014 at 01:56 AM.
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    Double post.

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    and just remember if you travel --- keep an open mind -grasslands you may spray water till you drop - south east us , you may only use water to clean off the tracks and underside of a plow. A whole lot to learn.
    RangerJake72 likes this.
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