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On-Call Firefighters Needed!

Gear Up OC19

The Plumas National Forest is currently recruiting candidates for an on-call (call-as-needed) fire crew. Called Plumas National Forest (PNF) OC-19, the firefighting crew will be available for assignments from late spring through fall on a call-as-needed basis. The crew will be dispatched on fire assignments not only for the Plumas National Forest, but also supporting firefighting efforts across the country. Most participants are interested in wildland firefighting and employed in other jobs that allow flexibility for the on-call program.

Applicants must be 18 or older and be in good physical condition. Requirements include classroom training including a minimum of 32 hours of Basic Firefighter Training and 40 hour Level III Refresher training. Applicants must also pass a Work Capacity Test which consists of walking 3 miles in 45 minutes carrying a 45-pound pack. All training costs are covered by the Forest Service.

Once activated, the crew is treated the same as any other seasonal or Permanent wildland firefighting crew.  Crews are typically sent on 14-day assignments, with a required two days off between assignments. The Forest also assigns at least two Forest Services firefighters as crew bosses to go out with the Crew.

For more information, please contact us at: pnffireandfuels@fs.fed.us or (530) 283-7845

PNF OC19 QnA


  • What is Plumas National Forest OC-19? [TOP]
    Plumas National Forest OC-19 is a Type II firefighting crew being formed in 2014 by the U.S. Forest Service. The crew is called together when needed and dispatched on fire assignments not only for the Plumas National Forest, but also supporting firefighting efforts across the country.
  • What is the crew’s normal personnel complement? [TOP]
    The crew consists of on average 18 to 20 members led by a Crew Boss from the U.S. Forest Service. Generally, a Crew Boss Trainee will be assigned as well. The crew is further divided in half by squads with a crew leader overseeing the two squads and reporting to the Crew Boss. Each crew squad has a Squad Boss who will run their squad and report to the crew leader. Each squad will have a (power) saw team consisting of two people, the sawyer and swamper. The remainder of the squad will consist of six crewmembers.
  • How does the crew travel? [TOP]
    The crew travels between assignment on chartered buses that carry the personnel as well as all the crew's equipment and personal belongings. Occasionally the crew may travel by helicopter into remote locations.
  • Where does the crew travel? [TOP]
    A crew is considered a regional resource and normally works within the State of California, concentrating on their home forest. If out of region resources are low, the crew can be called out of state for assignments.
  • How long does a crew work? [TOP]
    A typical hand crew rotation will consist of a 14 day assignment. Hourly shift assignment will vary, but typically are from 10 to 16 hours a day. Occasionally, longer hours are necessary but time off is then required per Occupational Health and Safety A(OSHA) rules.
  • What is my time commitment? [TOP]
    During fire season, crew members are required to be within a 2 hour on-call range. Crew members will be contacted by a crew coordinator with a time and location to gather for an assignment. The first crew members that respond and accept the assignment are the ones who will go. It is in a crew member’s best interest to invest in a mobile phone/pager.
  • How much can you make on a hand crew? [TOP]
    Pay varies with position, experience, and the number of assignments over a season. The different pay scales are as follows: AD1, AD2, AD3, & AD4 with AD4 being the highest rate.
    AD1 rate is a training rate. If it is your first assignment or fire, you will receive this rate until the Crew Boss determines that you have performed satisfactorily.
    AD2 is the typical crew rate.
    AD3 is a leadership position rate for Squad leaders and Sawyers.
    AD4 is a Crew Leader rate.
    The hourly pay can vary from approximately $10/hr to $15/hr. Pay from a 14 day assignment can be $1500 to $2200 depending on the hours worked.
  • What kind of work does the crew do? [TOP]
    The crew's primary duty is wildland fire suppression but is not limited to that. Experienced crew may be summoned for manpower during natural or man-made disasters. The work can range from working on the Space Shuttle disaster recovery to securing hillsides for floods and landslides before and after fires.
  • Where does the crew stay/sleep/eat on assignment? [TOP]
    The crew will generally stay in an organized fire camp or spike camp. The crew will sleep in tents unless there are sleep trailers or sleeping facilities available such as school gyms or similar buildings. On rare occasions, the crew will sleep in hotel/motels. The crew will generally eat in fire camp but if a fire camp has not been setup yet, the Crew Boss will feed the crew at local restaurants. Essentially, when you are in working status for the crew, your main meals, lodging, and transportation will be provided by the U.S. Forest Service.
  • How do I get on the crew? [TOP]
    Contact the Plumas National Forest and sign-up.

The hand crew is NOT a walk on position. It takes months of training to be ready for the crew. The training will range from classwork and fieldwork to heavy duty physical training. Hand crews are the work horses of wildland fire suppression and, as such, the work is very physically demanding.