In 2013, Southern Nevada District Office’s Vegas Valley Hand Crew – one of three veteran hand crews in BLM - received the Pulaski Award from the Secretaries of Agriculture and Interior. The Pulaski Award, which is one of the highest honors in the national wildland fire program, recognizes outstanding contributions to wildland firefighting and recognizes groups who show superior skill and experience in safety, interagency coordination, improving partnerships, and wildland fire suppression.
Within two seasons, the crew worked 30 fires and spent 62 days on hazardous fuels reduction projects. Additionally, they drove more than 126,000 miles and completed 37 task books. Crew members also cross trained with the engine program, helitack, dispatch center and administrative support.
Crew members have also assisted the Southern Nevada District Office with prescribed fire, trail maintenance, fencing construction and special recreation event compliance. In addition, one former crew member has been placed permanently into a maintenance position.
Vegas Valley Hand Crew is a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) hand crew located in Las Vegas, Nevada based out of the Southern Nevada District Office (SNDO). Vegas Valley is typed as a Type II Initial Attack Hand Crew. A hand crew consists of 20 men and women who work together as a cohesive unit to suppress wildland fires and conduct fuels projects throughout mostly the western states. However, they may be dispatched anywhere in the nation. Vegas Valley Hand Crew was established in April of 2012. The crew is unique in the fact that it is comprised of all veterans. Crew members receive either a temporary seasonal (not to exceed six months) or a term appointment. (This is an appointment in the competitive service where there is a need for the position for more than 1 year, but not more than 4 years. Reasons for making a term appointment include: project work, extraordinary workload, possibility of contracting out certain functions, and uncertainty of future funding. Eligible for benefits, if appointment is for one year or more.) For more Veterans Recruitment Appointment (VRA) Information, please refer to www.federaljobs.net/vra.htm .
The crew consists of one superintendent, one foreman, three squad leaders, three leads and 10-14 crew members. Since 2012, Vegas Valley has created a diverse team of highly motivated and skilled individuals who enjoy hard work and being out on fires away from home for sometimes up to a duration of two to three weeks. The crew travels in crew carriers and can be mobilized to wildland fires anywhere in the nation. If there is no road access to a fire, the crew travels equipped to be flown in to a fire area via helicopter. Once arriving, crew members will help assist and support fire operations.
Fire suppression duties vary from line construction and burnout to mop-up and rehabilitation. When not on fire assignments, the crew performs project work such as prescribed burning, fuels reduction, and other assorted projects as needed by the district. While on assignment, living conditions are sometimes very primitive, and daily work shifts can last in many cases up to 16 hours. Hot meals and beds are most often not an option. Crew positions are mentally and physically demanding; not everyone is suited for this job. Routine exposure to dust, smoke, poison oak, and other environmental hazards can be expected. Wildland firefighting on this crew requires strength, stamina, composure, and a positive attitude.
All crew members are expected to commence each fire season in top physical condition. Annually, the crew participates in the BLM Fitness Challenge and each crew member will be required to pass the work capacity pack test. (45lb pack carried for three miles on flat smooth surface completed in 45 minutes.) As a crew, we strive to attain very high standards in the physical fitness department due to the fact that this job is extremely demanding physically.
Government quarters is an available option while residing in Las Vegas. At the Red Rock Fire Station, there is a newer barracks facility which each crew member has preference to rent at a reasonable cost if needed. For more housing information visit Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce website at www.lvchamber.com
Required Documents/How to Apply
Bureau of Land Management
4701 North Torrey Pines Drive
Las Vegas, NV 89130
Eric Ellison, Superintendent; firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-515-5183