People interested in a job as a seasonal firefighter must apply to the agency they are interested in working for. Each agency (Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, USDA Forest Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, State of Idaho, etc.) has its own process for hiring seasonal employees. You may want to consider applying to more than one agency.
To become a wildland firefighter, you must be between the 18 and 35 years old and pass a physical fitness test. The average firefighter is paid $8.00/hour. They sometimes earn time and a half or "hazard duty" pay.
Most agencies hire a fair number of employees on a seasonal basis (generally from May to September). Almost without exception, regardless of the type of work seasonal employees are hired to do, everyone receives basic firefighter training. During seasons where there are a lot of fires, people who have had basic fire training are called upon to help organized fire crews. If you do an outstanding job, regardless of what function you are in, you will be noticed and your chances of getting a "fire job" next season will be greatly increased.
Professional Full-Time Firefighter
Check with the agency you are interested in and obtain an information package on how to apply for these types of jobs.
Our national fire incident data comes from the National Fire and Aviation Management Web Applications (FAMWEB) system located here: https://fam.nwcg.gov/fam-web/
The FABWEB Data Warehouse has public access and historical data from 1999-2019 that does not require an account to access. On the homepage, click on the FAMWEB Data Warehouse located on the left. From the dropdown menu, you can access fire incident data reports from the Public Access Reports/Public Shared Folder.
The reports are generated in IBM Cognos Connections. There is a Cognos Training link below the public access folders that may help if you questions/issues navigating the reports.
The USDA also has vetted spatial wildfire occurrence data dating from 1992-2015: https://www.fs.usda.gov/rds/archive/catalog/RDS-2013-0009.4
The wildland firefighting agencies and partners at NIFC focus on public safety as our top priority. Our cooperative efforts include fire suppression, preparedness, predictive services, vegetative fuels management, prescribed fire, community assistance and protection, and fire prevention through education.
NIFC does not directly process research and innovative proposals, though there are a few other options to submit your ideas to:
1) Submit your proposal to the National Wildfire Coordinating Group by following the steps in this Guide for the Submission of Innovative Ideas for Product or Process Improvement.
2) To submit your proposal to the USDA Fire Sciences Laboratory, please fill out their contact form at: https://www.fs.fed.us/rmrs/contact
The National Interagency Fire Center does not directly assess contracting proposals; contracting is handled by agency business centers or the U.S. General Services Administration. If you are interested in contracting with the federal government, visit the GSA Ebuy website: https://www.ebuy.gsa.gov/ebuy/ to find more information about the federal government contracting process.
Another resource is beta.SAM.gov. This site handles federal government contracting business: https://beta.sam.gov/
Although we sincerely appreciate the continued outpouring of offers from well-meaning volunteers to assist in ongoing firefighting efforts, we must respectfully decline. Firefighting is physically hard and requires specialized training, personal protective gear, and experience. Only those specifically trained know best how to mitigate the risk and be effective against a raging wildfire.
So, rather than put yourself and our firefighters at further risk, we have a better idea for how you can help. If you are looking for volunteer and donation opportunities, please contact your local Red Cross organization, as they provide support and assistance to people who have been affected by wildfires. Thank you.
How agencies respond to a reported incident is well organized and planned in advance. As the incident requires, additional resources are dispatched from the local agency. Once the incident goes beyond the local agency's ability to continue supplying resources, requests for additional resources are forwarded to the nearest Geographical Area Coordination Center (GACC).
There is a total of 10 GACCs across the United States, including Alaska. These centers will locate and dispatch additional firefighters and support personnel throughout the geographic area. The GACCs are as follows:
- Alaska - Fort Wainwright, Alaska
- Eastern Area - Milwaukee, Wisconsin
- Great Basin - Salt Lake City, Utah
- Northern California - Redding, California
- Northern Rockies - Missoula, Montana
- Northwest - Portland, Oregon
- Rocky Mountain - Lakewood, Colorado
- Southern Area - Atlanta, Georgia
- Southern California - Riverside, California
- Southwest Area - Albuquerque, New Mexico
When the resource needs for an incident, or incidents, exceed the capability of the GACC, resource orders are then forwarded to the National Interagency Coordination Center (NICC) located at the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) in Boise, Idaho. The NICC is an interagency operation that provides logistic support and intelligence reporting to all wildland management agencies. NICC dispatches crews, overhead personnel, aircraft, supplies and services across the U.S. and Canada and to other foreign countries based upon requests from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA). These requests are facilitated and coordinated by the USFS, International Programs, Disaster Assistance Support Program (DASP). DASP is a cooperative program between OFDA and the USFS.