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Gila National Forest Announces Southwest Firefighter (SWFF) Orientation and Training

Silver City, N.M., December 6, 2018– The Gila National Forest will be conducting an orientation and training session for the Gila Southwest Firefighter (SWFF) recruitment program for the 2019 wildland fire season. To be accepted into the program, candidates must meet all of the attendance requirements, successfully complete a 40-hour training course and pass a Work Capacity Test.

The SWFF program has a long and distinguished history in the southwest. SWFF crews are mobilized to wildland fires on the Gila National Forest and across the nation.  Individuals signed up with SWFF have also filled temporary positions on engines and suppression crews for local ranger districts. Strong work ethics and pride in a job well done keep SWFF crews in use each fire season. Crew members can expect to be called to duty frequently. 

To qualify for the SWFF recruitment program, candidates MUST attend the introductory session on January 2 or January 9, 2018 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Grant County Business and Conference Center, 3031 US Highway 180, Silver City, NM.

Candidates must also pass the Work Capacity Test, which involves walking three miles with a 45-pound pack in 46 minutes.  Good physical fitness is a critical factor in passing this test and it is advised that individuals begin a fitness regimen immediately to prepare for the arduous fitness test.  Work Capacity Testing will be administered at Fox Field, February 9 and 16, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. for all Southwest Firefighter candidates. 

Candidates must also attend all sessions of the 40-hour class March 11 – 15, 2019 from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., also at the Grant County Business and Conference Center. A refresher class for returning firefighters will be held March 11, 2019.   

Candidates MUST bring the following documents to the introductory meeting to be accepted into the training session: two forms of personal identification, one of which must have a picture.  Personal identification can be current state issued driver’s license, current passport, or social security card.  Additionally, candidates MUST bring their bank account routing information for direct deposit purposes. Direct deposit routing numbers can be found at the bottom of a check or on a bank statement. 

Application packets for SWFF Crew, Airtanker Base, and the Fire Cache will be available at the Gila National Forest Supervisors’ Office in Silver City beginning Wednesday, December 26, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. It is strongly advised to have applications completed prior to the introductory meeting.  Background checks and drug testing may be applied.  All paperwork must be completed and returned no later than January 11, 2018.

For further information, please contact Gabe Holguin, Gila National Forest Fire Staff Officer, at 575-388-8233, or Leroy Holguin, Forest Fire Planner at 575-388-8450.