California Desert District

Become a BLM Firefighter

For those who enjoy an active lifestyle, love being outdoors, and crave diversity in the workplace wildland firefighting may be for you. Wildland firefighting is an exciting profession that provides a wide array of job experience. Firefighters learn how to run firefighting equipment such as chainsaws, wildland fire engines, water pumps and other mechanized tools. They also learn how to read the weather and record it, efficiently dig a fire line, safely cut down trees, and conduct safety briefings and drills.


Wildland firefighters spend the majority of their time in the outdoors. Wildfires will burn anywhere that fuel is present, so firefighters are often sent to very remote beautiful areas throughout the United States. Firefighters may end up extinguishing a fire on top of a mountain or saving homes from flames near a city. Firefighters also help with natural disasters that occur all over the United States.




DISCOVER the different types of wildland firefighting positions (scroll down)


READ the Basic Qualification Standards to learn about the firefighter position requirements


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Different Types of Firefighter Positions:

Engine Crews

Wildland fire engine crew members are trained to fight wildland fires using fire engines. BLM mostly uses what are called Type IV or Heavy wildland fire engines to suppress rangeland fires. These engines are large and require a commercial drivers’ license to operate. They can hold anywhere from 800-950 gallons of water and can weigh up to 32,000 pounds. Engine crewmembers learn how to utilize water in fire suppression, lay hose, utilize chain saws, conduct prescribed burning, and drive wildland fire engines, amongst many other skills.

BLM Fire Engine

Apple Valley Flight Crew Logo

Helicopter Crews

BLM helicopter crews are assigned to helicopters. When they receive a fire call, they quickly board the helicopter, fly to the wildland fire incident, and utilize the helicopter and its water bucket/water dropping mechanisms in fire suppression. Helicopter crews learn how to dig fireline, conduct helicopter bucket drops, guide helicopter pilots into landing situations, utilize chainsaws and load fire crews onto helicopters, amongst many other skills.

Mitigation & Prevention

Working in wildland fire prevention involves a wide array of duties. BLM Wildland Fire Prevention Specialists educate the public about wildland fires and how to prevent them. They often work with the media during wildfire incidents to provide updates about wildland fire incidents to other agencies, the public and public officials. They work to educate homeowners about making their homes safe from wildfire and they also conduct Smokey Bear campaign outreach to educate both children and adults about fire prevention.

Smokey Bear and Seymour Antelope posing with female BLM firefighter


Fire Dispatchers

Our dispatch center serves as communication hubs for each district; they help disperse fire crews to each fire incident and they maintain communication between firefighters, management, and other agencies, such as city fire departments. Typically, dispatch centers house employees from both the U.S. Forest Service and BLM, so that the agencies have efficient communication when they are working together on wildland fire incidents. Dispatch centers also track where each fire crew is located, as well as statistics involving wildland fires. Wildland fire dispatch personnel gain valuable experience in communication methods, data collection, and map reading, amongst other respected skills. For more info click here.