Becoming a wildland firefighter has shown me that my mind and body are capable of so much more than I ever thought possible. It has given me camaraderie, skills, and purpose. I work my ass off during fire season and earn good money, which allows me to ski and travel in the off-season. I love that I’m outside and challenging myself everyday. It’s allowed me to experience things and visit places not many people get to see.
If you want this for yourself, let me guide you through the application process and what you’re getting yourself into.
It can be daunting. I know.
When I first applied to become a wildland firefighter in 2012, I had no idea what I was doing. I had help from wildland firefighter friends and they guided me through the federal online application process.
After applying to every single entry-level position I could find, I only got two interest calls from the 50 or so applications I submitted. One promptly wrote me off and the other hired me.
My rookie year on a hand crew in Northern California was the busiest fire season I’ve had. In four and a half months our crew racked up more than 800 hours of overtime, including 47 straight paid days.
That summer was an incredible time. I saw so much fire and I was getting stronger every day. I knew I had found a job I wanted to keep doing season after season.
This website came out of my personal experiences from eight seasons as a federal wildland firefighter on hand crews, engines, and details on hotshot and helitack crews, as well as five years as a volunteer structure firefighter on a department that responds to local wildland fires.
I’ve been a mentor to other wildland firefighters since I became a squad boss in 2014. I’ve also helped members of my structure department get into wildland fire careers. Everyone asks me the same questions so I made this website. I hope it gives you the information you need to become a wildland firefighter and have a job you love.
You’ll get information on:
At the very least this is what you need before you can even think about applying.
What to Expect
Wildland firefighting is inherently dangerous work. However, the rewards outweigh the risk in my experience. Here’s answers to the most commonly asked questions I get as a mentor for you to get an idea of my day-to-day life as a wildland firefighter and what to expect.
Wildland fire positions are increasingly competitive. This doesn’t mean you won’t get a job if you really want it. Here’s what to do before you apply, a walk through the application process, how to follow up during the hiring timeline, and my best tips throughout the whole shebang.