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USDA Forest Service Southwestern Region Fire and Aviation Management Women in Wildland Fire Boot Camp


Wildland Fire Position Details 

Persons selected to these positions will provide temporary emergency support on wildland fires and other emergency operations throughout the Southwest and nationally and will be provided opportunity for seasonal employment. The Boot Camp assignment will deliver basic firefighting training and some preparation for the Work Capacity Test (WCT), which is required to meet National Wildfire Coordinating Group Red Card qualification as a Wildland Firefighter. (See Minimum Federal Qualification Requirements on the following page.) All participants must pass the basic training and the WCT before becoming certified. 


This program is designed to assist selected participants in becoming more competitive in applying for seasonal positions and gives them the opportunity to gain experience through an administratively determined (AD) emergency hire program, if not selected for seasonal work. Participants will be paid for the Boot Camp. Base pay for these positions starts at the AD-B rate of $15.96/hour. Those selected for this work must remain on call. The main duty stations will be in Arizona and New Mexico with expected travel within the Southwest or across the country, on short notice for work assignments lasting up to 14 days. Please note that these are intermittent positions with workloads entirely dependent on wildland fire conditions in the Southwest and across the nation. Positions do not guarantee permanent employment but are a good starting point for those interested in a Forest Service career. 


Participants on wildland fire assignments can expect to be away from home for an extended period of time, exposed to primitive living conditions such as camping in wilderness without electricity, showers, or cell phone reception for up to 14 days at a time. Other assignments may be in urban areas with all the amenities. Operating vehicles both on and off road, hiking, boat rides, and mission flights on helicopters are just some of the modes of transportation to be expected on the job. 


Wildland firefighters can operate in close proximity to open flame, heat, smoke, and dusty conditions. The work is physically demanding, requiring up to 16-hour work days for up to 14 days in a row without a day off. The work consists of hiking, carrying heavy equipment, operating fire apparatus, working near heavy machinery, and using hand tools such as shovels, pulaskis, and chainsaws to construct fire containment line, many times in high-stress environments. Respect, character, flexibility, understanding, crew cohesion, and teamwork are the foundation of any good firefighter. Exhibiting the core values of Duty, Respect and Integrity, both on and off the clock is the expectation. 


Major Duties 

• Participate in training (classroom and field). 

• Participate in physical fitness. 

• Keep self and equipment fit for duty, in “response-ready” condition. 

• Remain on call for response to wildland fires and other emergencies. 

• Travel and work 14-day assignments, possibly out of state. 

• Safely engage in wildland fire suppression and other emergency response operation activities. 


Minimum Federal Qualification Requirements 

• Must be 18-37 years of age. (Exceptions will be considered.) 

• Must be in good mental and physical condition. 

• Must be able to pass basic wildland firefighter training (provided). 

• Must be able to pass the Forest Service Work Capacity Test at the “Arduous” level. This involves a 3-mile walk that must be completed in less than 45 minutes while wearing a 45-pound vest (provided). 


Training and How to Apply 

Submit an online application by following this link: https://goo.gl/forms/n8lOgy7IGv9FVKRi2 

Training will be held on consecutive 3-day weekends between September 28 and October 14, at various locations in New Mexico and Arizona. To receive a certificate and be fully qualified, participants must attend both weekends and complete all required training.


About the Region 

The Southwestern Region consists of about 2,800 permanent employees on 11 national forests and 4 national grasslands in Arizona, New Mexico, and the panhandle areas of Texas and Oklahoma. The southwestern United States is one of the most diverse, rapidly growing regions of the country. In 1997, New Mexico became the first state in the continental U.S. in which “minority groups” collectively represent over 50 percent of the state’s population. This “minority-majority” demographic situation reflects the complexity, diversity, and opportunities that we face in carrying out our mission of “caring for the land and serving people.” Our programs represent the full complexity of natural resource management in the Forest Service, with an emphasis on customer service and contributing to the Southwestern quality of life. 

Have questions? Contact: 

Ryan Myers 

Regional Fire Training and Workforce Development Specialist 

USDA Forest Service, Southwestern Regional Office 

phone: 505-842-3461 

email: rdmyers@fs.fed.us 


The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, and where applicable, sex, marital status, familial status, parental status, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, political beliefs, reprisal, or because all or part of an individual’s income is derived from any public assistance program. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TDD). To file a complaint of discrimination, write to USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, DC 20250-9410, or call (800) 795-3272 (voice) or (202) 720-6382 (TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.