1. #1
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    Default Best way to get on seasonal with U.S. Gov...?

    Well, I am new to the site, and am glad I found it. Anyway, I have spent about the last 2 - 3 hours on the usajobs and the USDA forest service sites applying for jobs.

    Is it just me, or does the application process seem extrememly unorganized? I did apply for quite a few, but was wondering if anyone had any tips for me to further my chances of getting on as some seasonal help?

    Are there any numbers to anyone I might be able to contact about this?

    I will have my EMT-B license in April, and my FF 1 cert. in May. Thanks in advance...

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    To me USAjobs seems very organized. You can easily search by location, job title, status and a variety of other ways.
    I don't know how you were doing it but I always go to advanced search, then search by occupational series and click the sort by date button at the bottom. For wildland jobs you want to search for Forestry Tech (462) and Range Tech (0455) jobs.
    A lot of agencies are just getting their budgets, so they should begin the hiring process shortly. Where are you wanting to work?

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    Originally posted by ramseycl
    To me USAjobs seems very organized. You can easily search by location, job title, status and a variety of other ways.
    I don't know how you were doing it but I always go to advanced search, then search by occupational series and click the sort by date button at the bottom. For wildland jobs you want to search for Forestry Tech (462) and Range Tech (0455) jobs.
    A lot of agencies are just getting their budgets, so they should begin the hiring process shortly. Where are you wanting to work?
    Thanks for the advice, I'll try it out that way today...

    I really dont care where I work. I am basically up for going anywhere for the summer season. I am located in Oklahoma right now...

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    Make sure to make contact with specific crews (bosses) on which you want to work so that when those in charge of hiring get the names on a cert list they can put a name to a voice. Last winter, I probably called about 30 different crew bosses and applied everywhere I could.Making personal contact is key. I ended up getting hired on an IA handcrew in Idaho(USFS). Do you have any prior wildland fire experience?

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    Originally posted by GS4digger
    Make sure to make contact with specific crews (bosses) on which you want to work so that when those in charge of hiring get the names on a cert list they can put a name to a voice. Last winter, I probably called about 30 different crew bosses and applied everywhere I could.Making personal contact is key. I ended up getting hired on an IA handcrew in Idaho(USFS). Do you have any prior wildland fire experience?
    On the ones I applied for I dont remember seeing any contact numbers, not say that there weren't there, I just dont remember. I dont have any prior wildland experience, or really structural experience for that matter, just the training in FF1. I just need something to get started in...

    So were you just seasonal (summer) in Idaho? What was the schedule like? Were you on for so long, then back home, or just off, or how do they work it? Thanks in advance..

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    The majority of USFS have barracks available at quite reasonable rates (under $200/mo), you generally live on site in the barracks, on your days off you can stay or go at your option, but you do have a room when you are off. I assume BLM, Park Service etc does the same but I've never worked for them. However not all locations have this available so ask before taking the job if you need lodging.

    I second the advice of talking to the crews you want to work for, in many cases the crew supervisor (HS sup, Engine Captain etc) either makes the hiring decisions or at least is involved to the point they can recommend somebody they want to hire, at the very least they can tell you how you ranked and if there is something better you can do on your app.

    Prior experience is nice but just as helpful is athetics (school etc) or outdoor work experience, wildland firefighting is hard work so being able to show you are either in very good shape (athletics) or know what hard work is about (jobs as a ranch hand, laborer etc) can be quite helpful.

    The west is best known for wildfires but there are seasonal jobs in wildfire available throughout the US. If you don't mind moving around it is actually possible to get hired seasonally almost year round. The south tends to have their fire season early Nov-April while the west burns May to Nov. The south and the eastern states also do alot of controlled burning so sometimes you can get work in the "off season" by getting onto a fuels crew.

    R5 which is California probably has the busiest fire season but R3 (Arizona / New Mexico) does quite well, it also has a little earlier season than much of the west so when things slow down thats when fires are going elsewhere so you get to go on roadtrips to other places. R6 Oregon and Washington is expecting a busy season this year and typically sees a fair amount of fire. Idaho / Montana (R2?) doesn't get as much initial attack as many of the western states but they do seem to get big fires when they get going. Nevada is largely BLM but I would suggest it is a good place to look at if you can travel for the job, Nevada traditionally has good seasons, big fires and a fair bit of initial attack, it also seems to be a somewhat less desirable place to work which could be good for getting your foot in the door.

    I know there is some USFS in Oklahoma but the big one there is Bureau of Indian Affairs, you might look into that if you want to stay closer to home, at the very least they may be able to point you towards an S130/190 basic wildland firefighters class, you don't have to have it to get hired but it certainly helps.

    Good luck

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    No experience..no problem. I had zero experience/education in fire(wildland or structural)prior to being hired.

    I was able to make contact(phone#'s) by going to the Forest Service website then linking onto specific forests such as Boise National Forest and locating the contact info for each particular ranger district. Once I did this I contacted each ranger district , asked about the different crews (engine, handcrew) that operate in the district, and then I asked to either be connected to or receive the # for each of crew bosses(engine,handcrew). Once I did this, I asked whether or not they were expecting any openings on the crew(depending on the #returning members of the crew) and then I would just talk to them about my interest in the job, past work experience /education/hobbies(athletics +)
    Make sure you ask ALOT of questions so that they know your REALLY interested.

    On the AVUE website, make sure when you apply/ied that you apply for the Forestry Aid(Fire) - Nationwide
    that is advertised and contact all the locations you listed as your preffered sites for your application to be sent(up to 8 locations I believe)
    Yes, this is a very long post but I wanted to give you as much info as possible b/c I was in your same situation a year.

  8. #8
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    So were you just seasonal (summer) in Idaho? What was the schedule like? Were you on for so long, then back home, or just off, or how do they work it? Thanks in advance..

    I was hired as a 1039 temporary just like you will be. I worked from May 15 - Nov 1.
    Some guys on the crew left in Agust to go back to school and others were laid off in early Oct(due to lack of work).Just make sure you communicate to the crew boss(when you make contact) the length of time you can work for. The max for 1039 is about 6 months but if there is no more work/lack of funding in the district you will get laid off earlier.

    My regular schedule was 8 hrs a day/ 5 days a week, SA and S off. The hours changed during July/August(base fire schedule/still 8 hrs a day/5 days a week,Tues, Weds off, but started later and ended later in the day)
    Almost forgot, One hour of physical training every morning and sometimes in the afternoon too(PT hikes).And your getting paid for it!

    During the season I worked on 7 initial attack(wildfires), one Search and Rescue(Cessna), 2 extended attack assignments to No California, and 2 extended attack assignments in Idaho.
    Be ready to work 100 hr weeks and 16 hr days when assigned to an incident. My longest shift was 32 hours on the Power Fire in El Dorado NF(NoCal). More hours = Overtime(time and half) + Hazard Pay(25% of base salary). I ended the season with around 400 hrs of OT ( And this past season was considered a BELOW average fire season).

    The longest I worked an IA was 3 nights. IA's are ususally pretty small 1/4 acre-1 acre. We went out in squads of around 6 people sometimes more depending on the situation.Off forest assignments like those I went to in California you can expect to be working for at least two weeks straight.I particularly enjoyed IA's because were flown in and out most of the time(Helo's).Very cool.

    During employment, I had shared government housing for $45 per pay period or $90 a month which was automatically deducted from my paycheck.
    -Check with each crew boss to see if they offer housing, some NF's are better than others when it comes to housing availability.

    I'm actually about to start work again soon with the same crew in a few weeks doing some prescribed and pile burns in the snow!

    Keep working the phones and keep your mind open to working wherever you can get hired. I actually drove across the country (from the East Coast) to Idaho to get my foot in the door and I haven't regretted it at all.

    If you need more info let me know!

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    And mention your EMT-B. IT WILL MOST DEFINATELY HELP!!!!!!

  10. #10
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    You hours will depend a lot on the season. Last summer I worked 6 day weeks averaging 12hour days. There were several times where we would work 14 days averaging 15.5 hours.

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