Kern Valley Hotshots
Creating a fire break on a hillside.
What are Interagency Hotshot Crews? (IHC's)
Interagency Hotshot Crews are professional, highly motivated, self contained 20-person wildland fire suppression resources. The primary mission of the IHCís is to provide safe, organized, mobile and extremely skilled hand crews for wildland fire suppression. Fire suppression is largely achieved by crews constructing a control line on a fires perimeter to keep the fire from spreading.
Each fire assignment may last up to 14 days excluding travel time to the incident, without the crew returning to base, and work shifts of 24 hours are common. The work can be long, exhausting, and physically demanding. IHCís are available for assignments anywhere. Crew organization, qualifications, equipment and specialized skills also can be utilized to meet management objectives such as prescribed fire, trail maintenance, fence construction, and an endless variety of labor-intensive tasks. If you would like an opportunity to challenge yourself as a hotshot crew member, read on.
The Kern Valley Hotshot Crew
The Kern Valley Hotshot crew is hosted by the Bureau of Land Management's field office in Bakersfield, California. Our Crew's philosophy is to actively seek honest, demanding, labor-intensive work. We perform duties with speed and quality, to an extent which most people have never experienced. Work is completed with an abiding respect for a strong work ethic based on personal and team achievement. We embrace the crew's historical experiences while always pushing to obtain, create, and cultivate new ideas and technologies in the area of training and equipment. We are looking for new crew members with an established work ethic, quality of character, and mental strength. One must be able to commit to an undetermined length of employment with a consistently high level of quality service. Applicant should not apply in haste, as the job's obligation far exceeds any of the more traditional careers. The Kern Valley IHC performs filthy, horrible, brutal, thankless, back breaking work. There is nothing glamorous about it, as nearly all work is done far from the accessibility of TV cameras. It is not uncommon for crew members to work to the point of exhaustion and experience occasions of temporary illness due to the nature of the Hotshot environment. Regardless of how crew members feel, they are judged on their contribution to completion of assignments. Crew members are exposed to all of nature's elements, ranging from scorching hot temperatures to freezing rain and extreme elevations.
Physical Fitness Training
The Kern Valley IHC places a strong emphasis on physical conditioning. Personnel safety depends upon all crew members possessing the ability to traverse steep terrain at a steady pace under extreme physical and emotional stress. Applicants wishing to differentiate themselves will be able to describe in detail their personal conditioning programs and provide test results and any other quantitative evidence of fitness levels. The crew hikes 2-3 miles a day, 2-3 times a week with full line gear on (approx. 45lbs). The crew hike takes them through steep terrain and is subject to Bakersfield summer heat. It is recommended that crew members be able to run 1.5 miles in 10 minutes, 35 seconds. The majority of current crew members far exceed this recommendation. A high level of physical fitness is required before reporting for work. Physical fitness training is performed during the fire season to maintain a high level of fitness, not to get the crew members into shape. Physical fitness testing will take place on the first day of training to determine overall crew fitness level. This is done in order to build a cohesive, safe and effective team; The crew will set the standard, not the individual. Crew members are expected to run more than 6 miles a day. Weight training is also utilized.
Fire fighters in the fire training room.
A Kern Valley IHC members will attend an 80-hour training course before responding to fire assignments. The Kern Valley IHC will provide specialized wildland fire courses. New and experimental instructions techniques are common in the classroom. The pursuit of new literature, learning aids, and subject matter specialists is ongoing to assist in creating intelligent firefighters.
Kern Valley IHC Employment Information
Applicants must be 18 years of age at the start of employment, provide proof of U.S. Citizenship, have a GED or High School diploma, and pass a drug test and a medical examination. Applications will be processed by the Bakersfield Field office. The application process begins with a formal announcement. To apply online, you must do so between Dec 1st and Jan 30th. Log onto http://www.firejobs.doi.gov
1. At the FIRE Jobs website home page, click on "Search for Jobs".
2. Click on your state of interest.
3. Once you have found a job that you are interested in, click "Apply for this job" to view the full vacancy announcement
National Hotshot Link
Near the beginning of each December. Interested applicants should obtain an application packet by contacting the Bakersfield Field office, Attn. Seasonal Employment , 3801 Pegasus Drive, Bakersfield CA. 93308, or by phone at 661-391-6000. Packets contain one OF612 Optional Application for Federal Employment, instructions and information necessary for completion of the application. Crew members must be available to work throughout the entire term of employment, which is generally from April through October (depending on fire activity and funding). An incomplete application will not be considered. Applicants are strongly encouraged to address a separate letter directly to the Kern Valley IHC Superintendent explaining their suitability for the crew. Typically the crew has 2 to 5 positions available yearly, 2 of which are designated for individuals without previous fire experience. Hiring is based upon physical fitness scores, oral interview, past experience, recommendations, potential, and applicant availability.