Applegate Field Office

Surprise Valley Fire Station

Surprise Field Office Fire Program howling coyote icon


graphic banner for Suprise Valley Fire Station

photo of the Surprise Valley Fire Station showing the station, engirnes and the suppression crews

The Mission

Surprise Valley Fire Station is an Interagency Station, home to BLM Engine 3236, BLM Engine 3237 and BIA Engine 1. The primary mission for the fire suppression crew is to protect life, property and natural resources from wildfire. Engine 3236 and 3237 are responsible for the protection of more than 1.5 million acres of BLM managed land. BLM crews work closely with other agencies such as the U.S. Forest Service, CALFIRE, Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the Surprise Valley Volunteer Fire Departments in protecting several thousand acres of private lands in Northeast California and Northwest Nevada. BLM suppression crews respond to a variety of calls including wildland fires, structure fires, vehicle fires and vehicle accidents.


Wildland fire fighting, is both mentally and physically demanding. Crew members are expected to pass a physical fitness test (the pack test), and maintain a high level of physical fitness throughout their employment period. Engine 3236 and 3237 are 4 Wheel Drive Fire Engines staffed 7 days a week. Crews work 8 hour days but are available 24 hours a day for both on and off district fires. Crew members can expect to have their days off cancelled and be gone on assignments for up to 14 consecutive days. Surprise Valley BLM has sent crews to fight fires in many Western states including Alaska and Hawaii, Eastern states as far as Florida and other countries like Canada.

Fire fighters must be able to function as team members and get along with a variety of persons from diverse cultures and backgrounds.

Surprise Valley fire crew "Burning Out" sagebrush on a wildfire
Nightime photograph of Cedar Fire - Southern California 2004Southern California Wildfire Image

The Problem

After disastrous fire seasons in 1994, 2000, 2002, and 2007, where millions of dollars were spent, property was damaged and lives were lost suppressing wildfires on public lands, the Federal Government re-evaluated its wildland fire management program. Fire and land managers were faced with a serious problem of hazardous fuels accumulations and ecosystems that were degraded after years of fire suppression and fire exclusion.

As a result federal agencies were directed to accomplish more in terms of projects to reduce hazardous fuels and restore fire dependent ecosystems.

As part of the solution to help deal with the workload, suppression crews work on projects throughout the summer to reduce hazardous fuels and restore fire dependent ecosystems on public lands.


In the Wildfire Suppression Program there are many opportunities for training to advance your skills. Basic 32 is the baseline training required for all frontline firefighters. This training includes fire behavior and suppression tactics. On the job training includes fire line construction, progressive hose lays, pumps and hydraulics, mobile attack, urban interface structure protection, SCBA training, chainsaw use and safety, First Aid/CPR and prescribed fire operations. We support a wide range of interests within the Wildfire Suppression Programs.

Surprise Valley Engine Crew in Self Contained Breathing Apparatus tactic drills


Fire Management Graphic

 If you have questions concerning employment, please call or write us.
Surprise Field Office
602 Cressler St.
Cedarville, CA. 96104

Dana Cook - Fire Management Officer

(530) 279- 6101


George Jolicoeur - Engine Captain - 3237
(530) 279-2710
Wayne Jones - Engine Captain - 3236
(530) 279-2737
Or visit 
BLM Quickhire website

 Applications accepted year round.

Must be 18 years or older before first day of employment.