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Want to fight wildfires? Applications now open with U.S. Forest Service

The U.S. Forest Service on Friday began accepting applications for apprenticeships to fight wildfires throughout the country.
The U.S. Forest Service on Friday began accepting applications for apprenticeships to fight wildfires throughout the country. Submitted photo

Those with the drive to battle wildfires across the country take note - the U.S. Forest Service on Friday began accepting applicants who could eventually become permanent firefighters.

Through the Wildland Firefighting Apprenticeship Program, applicants will complete 3,000 hours of on-the-job training, as well as courses at the Wildland Fire Training Center in McLellan. Seve Flores, Sierra National Forest’s Apprentice Manager, said the program - which could take an applicant 12 to 48 months to complete - is designed to enhance and develop future fire and aviation managers.

Forest service officials said apprentices will be paid for all training costs.

Those that complete the program will become permanent firefighters, officials said, with openings available in California, Louisiana, Oregon, South Carolina, Virginia, and Washington.

Flores said applications are being accepted through the website www.usajobs.gov until Aug. 25. Once collected, expert staff then review applications to send out job offers, possibly as soon as November.

Those that are accepted into the program should expect to pass a set of tests in both mental and physical ability, such as carrying a 45-pound pack for three miles in under 45 minutes. A federal drug test will also be administered.

Other requirements for eligibility include, but are not limited to:

Must be a U.S. Citizen or U.S. National

Must possess and maintain a valid driver’s license

Must be willing to live and work in remote locations

Must meet age requirements, between 18-37

Veterans and applicants may apply if they are older than 37 and eligible for the Land Management Workforce Flexibility Act.

Duties for the job will include performing various aspects of wildland and prescribed fire operations and suppression, driving engines frequently over unimproved roads, and loading helicopter personnel and cargo.

For more information, contact human resources at (877) 372-7248, then press 2.

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