View Full Version : Seasonal Wildland Firefighting

Jason Lopez-Ota
10-31-2009, 07:26 PM
Does anyone here know anything about it?

Do they train you or do you have to get certified to meet qualifications before you apply?


I've been to a bunch of different websites and I've seen different things.

Derek Weaver
10-31-2009, 09:49 PM
Where are you located? I have a buddy who's gone out the last few seasons.

Jason Lopez-Ota
10-31-2009, 10:04 PM
Where are you located? I have a buddy who's gone out the last few seasons.

I'm in Georgia.

Tyler Micheli
11-29-2009, 10:45 PM
From what I can remember and with a bit of quick research....

The basic qualification needed to become a Wildland Firefighter is a Red Card and it's obtained by taking the S-130/S-190 training courses.

Check out http://training.nwcg.gov/twt/sect_firef_seasonal.htm (w/f s)
The NWCG (National Wildfire Coordinating Group) are the captains of the wildland firefighting show. Paraphrased from the above listed website: Apply to the agency for which you are interested in working (BLM, NPS, Forest Service, etc) and the minimum training will be "provided by the agency". You'll have to pass the physical fitness test ("pack test"): a 3-mile hike with a 45 pound pack completed in under 45 minutes. And I've heard running is not allowed (take the fun out of it!).

Then from a National Parks Service webpage
http://www.nps.gov/fire/download/emp_firejobs.pdf (http://www.nps.gov/fire/download/emp_firejobs.pdf) (w/f s)
http://www.nps.gov/fire/ (w/f s)
"If you are entering into the wildland fire arena without any previous experience there are some basic classes that you may be able to complete locally which will increase your chances of being hired. The basic fire courses are S- 130 Firefighter Training and S-190 Introduction to Wildland Fire Behavior. Contact your State Forestry agency or Community College to see if they offer any of these classes."

Ha, I can certainly see how you've received mixed information from varying websites. Having the S-130/S-190 before applying seems advantageous, but not required. My advice is to contact a local Forest Service office (if they have no information call one in Colorado or another state that frequently catches on fire..seriously) and see what they say on the matter (ask if they can suggest a place to get the S-130/S-190 training), search for a community college offering S-130/S-190, or there are some private camps offering S-130/S-190 training (Colorado Firecamp is one http://www.coloradofirecamp.com/schedule.html#s130190) (w/f s). On the firecamp website I just linked to there's a schedule of upcoming courses and a contact number. I bet you could give them a call and see what they say on the matter. I know you're in Georgia, but they would likely be fairly well informed about the requirements of and training opportunities in wildland firefighting.

Of course obtaining private training will be more expensive than having an agency foot the bill, but the training may increase your probability of landing a job (my fire inspector father and his forest service cronies have said it's balls hard to get a job without first having the red card). I believe the hiring season fires up hot in January, so you're right on time to get started! Best of luck!

Uh, one of those unpleasant but maybe-necessary-in-the-digital-age disclaimers: I'm just a regular citizen not associated with the Colorado firecamp to which I linked above. Heck, I even believe wildland fires are a healthy and necessary natural event and needn't always be battled. But fire is a damn fun thing to dance with, so go get 'em!

And that was wordy but hopefully not entirely verbose. If you need clarification or some more tips (who doesn't love giving advice to others!?), let me know.

Jason Lopez-Ota
12-28-2009, 09:26 AM
Thanks. I won't be doing seasonal firefighting in January b/c as of right now I can only do curls with a 15 pound dumbell. I will after I heal my wrists though. It looks like a cool experience.

Something to check off of my life experiences list.

Steve Forman
12-28-2009, 02:08 PM
Not sure about Georgia. But in california you get hired and then trained by them. At least for CAL Fire that is. Good luck, I did it and it was fun. the Big city is better though.