Ruby Mountain Hotshots


About Us


Ruby Mountain IHC is based in Elko, NV and is hosted by the Elko District Office. The Elko District encompasses 12.5 million acres and has primary wildland fire suppression responsibility for 7.5 million acres of public lands. The District consists of 4 fire stations (Elko, Carlin, Wells and Midas) which include Ruby Mountain IHC, Ten 4X4 Heavy Engines, 3 Fire Operations Supervisors, an Air Attack Platform, and a Type 3 helicopter with Helitack crew. The Elko District is considered one of the busiest offices within the BLM for Initial Attack opportunities due to high fire frequency and fuel types.

Vision/mission statement or core values: 

The mission of Ruby Mountain IHC is to foster an atmosphere of safe work practices, career enrichment and superior work ethic. Additionally, Ruby Mountain IHC will supply Land Management agencies with a quality resource that results in high customer/end user satisfaction in all facets of Land Management. Ruby Mountain IHC will also strive to maintain a positive, service-oriented attitude in all aspects of training, fire suppression, and project work.

Crew duties: 

Ruby Mountain IHC is a National resource and will typically travel to multiple geographic areas during a normal fire season. The crew safely and effectively performs all aspects of wildland fire management and strives to provide the best service possible. When not assigned to wildland fire incidents, the crew will perform fuels project work for the Elko District and adjoining BLM districts.

Crew station/facilities: 

Ruby Mountain IHC is stationed at the Elko District Office in Elko, NV. The crew has its own station on the Elko District Compound, which includes offices for the crew overhead, bays for the vehicles, a training room, and a gym. There are also crew barracks to provide housing for the crew during the full duration of fire season.


Ruby Mountain IHC endorses a learning culture and is always striving to provide training opportunities to allow for individuals to move up within the crew and within the organization. Classroom training will be provided during the 2-3 weeks of critical training and field training will be provided throughout the fire season.

Daily operations: 

While on Fire Assignment, long shifts of 16 hours or more can be expected. Lodging generally consists of a tent and sleeping bag. Meals will either be MRE’s or Hot meals provided by the incident. Hot, smoky, dusty, wet, rainy, and cold conditions can generally be expected throughout the season. When not assigned to incidents, the crew will perform fuels work in the surrounding areas and often conduct training that will benefit the crew during future fire assignments. While in station, the crew will generally prepare gear and equipment for the next assignment and conduct daily PT sessions.

Recruitment and Hiring

When applying, be sure to check the Elko, NV duty location in order to be considered for Ruby Mountain IHC.

Job announcements

Physical Fitness

Ruby Mountain IHC maintains a high level of physical fitness and always participates in the BLM Physical Fitness Challenge on the 1st day of critical training. The crew conducts two-a-day PT sessions during the first 2 weeks of critical training, which generally includes a hike and a run. Crew runs are typically 3-7 miles with calisthenic exercises intermixed. The crew has numerous hiking opportunities near the station and will hike in full line gear (Packs, Chainsaws, Tools and Cubees) in order to simulate strenuous hikes on the fire line. The overall goal of the Ruby Mountain IHC physical fitness program is to ensure all members of the crew are well rounded and prepared for the long, strenuous shifts in steep terrain that tend to occur while working on A Hotshot Crew.

Ruby Mountain Hotshots 2021


Ruby Mountain IHC began as a Type 1 training-crew on May 21st, 2001 in response to the 2000 national fire plan initiative presented by President Bill Clinton. This initiative allowed for 20 hand crews to start the process of becoming Type 1 Hotshot Crews. Ruby Mountain became available June 8th, 2001 and was assigned to their first fire on the next day.

In 2003, the crew became qualified as an Interagency Hotshot Crew.

Throughout the years, physical training has been a fundamental part of the RMHS way of life. In the interest of quality work done safely and efficiently, Ruby Mountain adheres to a strict physical conditioning routine. In 2014 the crew won the BLM IHC fitness challenge.

The Ruby Mountain Hotshots place great emphasis on training and upward mobility. Ruby Mountain has supported detail opportunities for our state and federal partners. While maintaining its status as a High Reliability Organization, Ruby Mountain fosters an environment of safety, training and leadership. Gabe Donaldson earned the Kevin Hull Nevada State Leadership Award in 2011. Craig Cunningham was the 2013 recipient of the Bureau of Land Management’s National Wildland Fire Safety Award for the development of P.L.O.W.S. In 2014, the crew received the From the Field for the Field award for its participation in the Wildland Fire Leadership Development Program’s Leadership Campaign.



Shane McDonald: 2001 – 2004
Rich Stiles: 2005 – 2006
Spencer Gregory: 2007 – 2008
Gabriel Donaldson: 2009 – 2013
Craig Cunningham: 2014 – 2016
Troy Thomas: 2016
Jerry Drazinski: 2017-2018
Vacant: 2019
Chase Maness: 2020-2023
Justin Zabala - 2023 - Present


Contact Us

Best way for people to ask questions is by phone or email.

Crew Contacts

Justin Zabala - Superintendent
Office: 775-753-0208
Cell: 775-455-7155