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Elko Helitack Fire and Aviation


Crew photo of 2011 BLM Elko Helitack crew.

Elko Helitack 

Our primary mission is to initial attack wildland fires in Northeast Nevada. The fire season in Elko typically runs from June to September, but may be extended depending on the severity of the fire season. In addition to our assignments locally we will respond wherever requested by Western Great Basin Coordination Center. Our organization consists of a 10 person Helitack crew, a Type 3 helicopter, and two chase trucks. During the period 2005-2011 our seven year average is 55 initial attack fires, 15 extended attack fires and 229.5 flight hours on wildland fires.

Crew photo of 2011 BLM Elko Helitack crew: Left to right top row - Ian McQueary, Terry Whited (Fuel Truck Driver), Brian Deck (Toasty), Alec Goicoechea, Cass Hyde, Jay Wlker, Jim Reid (Pilot), Erin Burkhammer, Kevin Hannig. Front row - Joe (Rojo) Bradshaw and AJ Coleman. 

What We Have to OfferHelicopter OCR performing bucket work on river ranch fire.

The last two years we have averaged 45 fires per year. The majority of the time we are first on the scene; at the critical time when judgement, teamwork, and aggressive action can make a difference. We actively seek out fire assignments, training opportunities, and details for our crewmembers. We have sent members of our crew on assignments to Canada, Mexico, Alaska, Florida, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Montana. In addition we have hosted detailers from other BLM districts, Ruby Mountain Hot Shots, Silver State Hot Shots, Boise Smokejumpers, Russian Smokejumpers, Alaska Department of Forestry. It is expected that you will progress each year in your experience, training, and qualifications.

Crew Organization

The Elko Helitack Crew has traditionally been a six person crew; in 2002 we expanded to ten. The crew currently consists of a Foreman, an Assistant Foreman, two Squad Leaders, two Lead crewmembers and four seasonal crewmembers.

 Helicopter OCR supporting Elko Helitack crew with bucket support.Selection Criteria 

Our success as a crew depends on the efforts of each individual crewmember. We only consider those applicants with previous wildland firefighting experience. We are looking for firefighters who have the qualities which we consider essential:

• Good judgement in spite of stress, fatigue, or hardship
• The ability to work independently or as part of a team
• Ready & able to adapt to your circumstances
• Highly motivated
• Self-disciplined
• Above average intelligence
• Sense of humor
• Excellent physical fitness

Helitack Training

Classroom Training: Approximately 40 hours will be spent in the classroom during your initial Helitack Training (S-271). It is mandatory that rookie crewmembers successfully complete this course. In addition to S-271 we will cover a wide variety of fire & aviation subjects including: LCES, Aviation Watchout Situations, Fire Tactics & Strategy, Fireline Construction, Firing Techniques, Radio Use & Programming, Pumps & Saws, Land Navigation & Map Use, Aircraft Crash Rescue, & Helitack Operations with Engines, Handcrews, Smokejumpers, & Medivac Aircraft.

Helicopter OCR completing evening bucket drops.Physical Training: Initially PT will be done as a group twice each day. The purpose of this strenuous training program is to prepare you physically and mentally for the demands of wildland firefighting. It is imperative that you report for work in excellent physical condition. You will be expected to meet the following minimum standards: 1 ½ mile run in 11 minutes or less, 7 pull-ups, 25 push-ups, 45 sit-ups, the Pack Test in 45 minutes or less. Helitack personnel are encouraged to meet the following standards: 1 ½ run in 9:30, 4 mile run in 30 minutes, 10 pull-ups, 35 push-ups, 60 sit-ups, the Pack Test in 40 minutes or less. The following workouts will be incorporated into the initial physical training: 4 to 8 mile runs, sprints, hill runs, and timed hikes with a pack in the hills.

Location & Accommodations 

Our base is co-located with the Elko Interagency Dispatch Center at Harris Field in Elko, Nevada near the junction of Interstate 80 and Mountain City Highway. On site are office facilities, ready room, storage, and two pads suitable for Type 3 helicopters.

Work Dates & Rates of Pay Elko Helitack performing burnout ops. with engine support.

For seasonal employees the start date for a typical fire season will be from the middle of May and crewmembers can expect to work until mid-October. Most of our crewmembers are hired on a seasonal appointment as GS 4's or 5's (depending on the individuals experience & qualifications).

How to Apply

We anticipate filling a limited number of seasonal openings for our fire season. Interested applicants should apply by clicking on this link: Applying for Jobs with BLM Nevada Fire and Aviation. Interested applicants should expect vacancies to be listed on USAJOBS near the beginning of December. The hiring lists should be closed around the first part of January and interviews will begin shortly thereafter.

We encourage those needing further information on the crew and application process to begin establishing contact with the Crew Foreman or Assistant during the fall months and emails are always welcome (see below for more contact information).

For more information please contact:

Monitor flight of east side of rock ridge
Crew Foreman – Jed Johns 
Work: (775) 748-4053

Asst. Foreman – Ian McQueary
Work: (775) 748-4053


For information about the City of Elko and Elko County please visit these links:

City of Elko -
Elko Chamber of Commerce -