Wildland Firefighting

Frequently Asked Questions

Are you interested in becoming a wildland firefighter? Here are a few frequently asked questions:

1) How do I apply?

Federal agencies, such as the BLM and U.S. Forest Service, hire firefighters through the federal government employment website, USA Jobs. Applications are filled out and submitted on-line.

*Note: when searching for wildland fire jobs on the USA Jobs website, notice that most fire fighting positions are listed as "Range Tech."  This is the government job series for wildland fire positions and others.

 2) When should I apply?
The BLM hires firefighters during the winter months in order to properly train all firefighters in the spring, before fire season begins. We recommend you start searching the USA Jobs website for wildland firefighting jobs in November and December.
3) What sort of skills do I need?
Beginning firefighters are not required to have a large amount of skills before employment. However, many firefighting jobs are very competitive, so it helps if you already know how to safely run a chainsaw, work on tools and equipment, have first aid or medic skills, or have outdoor leadership experience. If you are interested in talking with someone about improving your skills, click here to find contacts for each BLM district in Idaho.   
4) How physically demanding is firefighting?

Wildland firefighters must be in good physical condition.  Every year, all firefighters must pass physical tests designed to show their fitness before fire season begins. These tests involve carrying a 45 pound pack for 3 miles in less than 45 minutes. Many fire crews also conduct fitness challenges involving running, pushups, sit-ups, pull-ups, and other activities.  Physical training is mandatory for all BLM wildland firefighters. 
5) If I become a wildland firefighter, how long will I be away from home?
Wildland firefighters must go where fires are burning, so they can be away from home for weeks or months at a time, depending on the fire crew and its location. Fire assignments last for up to two weeks (14 days), but fire crews may be reassigned to other fires after their two week assignment is completed, but only after one to two days of rest.   
6) If I have questions, who do I contact?
On the USA Jobs website, there will be human resources contact information under each job announcement.  On this website, you can search all government jobs.  If you are interested in Idaho BLM Wildland Fire jobs, search "Idaho" in the "city, state or zip code" box on the front page.   
You can also click here for national BLM personnel contacts regarding fire positions throughout the U.S.    
7) Why are there no BLM wildland fire jobs in North Idaho?
BLM manages thousands of acres of public land in north Idaho, but the U.S. Forest Service and Idaho Department of Lands provide wildland fire suppression. Why? Because the U.S. Forest Service and Idaho Department of Lands manage the majority of public lands in the northern half of the state, so it is more economical for their fire crews to provide wildland fire suppression services on public lands in north Idaho.