General Information

The specialty of BLM Hotshots is wildfire suppression, but they are sometimes assigned other jobs, including search and rescue and disaster response assistance. Hotshots not busy fighting fire will also work to meet resource goals on their home units or other units through thinning, prescribed fire implementation, habitat improvement or trail construction projects.

The twenty plus member Hotshot crews are often called Type 1 Crews, but are really Type 1 Crews-PLUS since they exceed the experience, training and physical fitness required for a Type 1 Crew. They may be sent anywhere in the United States, as well as Mexico and Canada, to fight wildland fires. They can safely and efficiently use all fire tools including pulaskis, chain saws, fusees, pumps, and understand and practice safe helicopter operations.


Individual crew structure is, to some extent, based on local needs using the following standard positions. A typical crew would include one Superintendent (GS-9), one Assistant Superintendents (GS-8), three Squad or Module Leaders (GS-6/7), and 15 Skilled Firefighters (GS-4/5) and Crew Members (GS-2/3). Qualifications for each position are outlined in the Interagency Hotshot Operations Guide.

All crews require that personnel be available 24-hours per day, seven days a week during the fire season, which typically last six months. Fire assignments may require IHC members to be away from home for several weeks at a time. The crews travel, primarily in the West, by truck, van or plane. To get to the more remote fire sites, crews either hike or are flown in by helicopter. Crew members pack all the water and supplies needed for work shifts that frequently exceed eight hours, and may be 14 hours or longer. Crews sleep on the ground and are lucky to get a shower every couple of days. Crew members pack all the water and supplies needed for work shifts that frequently exceed 14 hours, and may be 16 hours or longer. Crews sleep on the ground and are lucky to get a shower once a week.

Most hotshot crew positions are seasonal, with employment from May through October. Employment is occasionally available during the pre- and post-season depending on weather and financing. For more information on the Hotshot program, contact the Hotshot crew you are interested in working with.

AVAILABILITY

All IHC's must be certified annually prior to initial assignment. Crews must submit a completed “Appendix C” from the National Interagency Hotshot Crew Operations Guide prior to the crew being made available for any incident assignment as an IHC. Any IHC not meeting all of the requirements in “Appendix C” before, or during, the crew's availability period will be available as an IHC(t). The Crew Superintendent is responsible to inform local supervisor and the local GACC of any required changes in the crew's typing.

The minimum tour of availability excluding required training periods for BLM IHC's will be 130 calendar days for crews in the lower 48 states and 90 calendar days for crews in Alaska.

All crews require that personnel be available 24-hours per day, 7 days a week during the fire season, which typically last six months. Fire assignments may require IHC members to be away from home for several weeks at a time.