Durango Helitack

Helitack 3The Durango Helitack crew consists of a 10-12 person Forest Service Exclusive Use Helitack Crew hosted by the San Juan N.F. in Durango, CO. The crew consists of an organization of 1 Helitack Supervisor, 1 Asst. Supervisor, 4 Squad Leaders, 2 Senior Firefighters and 6-8 temporary seasonal employees.

The Durango Helitack Crew is a National Shared Resource, trained in the tactical and logistical use of helicopters for fire management.

As a National Resource the Durango Helitack Crew can be deployed anywhere throughout the United States and typically spends the large majority of their time pre-positioned for initial attack or assigned to large fires. Throughout the field season we work with a multitude of agencies including the BLM, BIA, NPS, State Agencies, Cities, Counties and Private landowners.

The Durango Helitack Crew is typically very busy with fire suppression from early May through late September. When we are not on initial attack fires the crew is generally assigned to large fire support missions throughout the nation. 


Location and Accommodations

The Durango Helitack Crew is co-located with the Durango Airtanker Base at the Durango/La Plata County Airport approximately 15 miles south of the City of Durango. On site are office facilities, a warehouse/ready room, and suitable parking for air tankers and helicopters. Limited Government Housing is available in the city of Durango.

Durango, CO has a population of approximately 16,500 and boasts a wide range of services, dining, recreation and events.



The first 2 weeks of the season starting in late April, are dedicated to classroom and field training. This training includes mandatory fire training and refreshers, interagency helicopter training, and other training being offered at the local level. Crewmembers are required to demonstrate competence in all aspects of pre-season training in order qualify as a crewmember.


Physical Fitness

Helitack 4Firefighting is a physically demanding job, it should go without saying that the work we are asked to perform requires a high level of fitness. Applicants are required to pass the Work Capacity Test at the arduous level, failure to do so will result in immediate dismissal.

Physical training during the course of the season will be conducted each morning, this training will include activities designed to build strength, increase aerobic and anaerobic thresholds, improve flexibility and increase overall fitness. Crewmembers should strive to meet the crew fitness goals upon arrival for the season these goals include:

  • 1.5 Mile run – 11:00 Minutes or less
  • 45 Sit-ups – 1:00 Minute
  • 25 Pushups – 1:00 Minute
  • 7 Chin-ups – Consecutive
  • 75 lb Packout – 3 miles (Untimed)


Employment Opportunities

Each season the Durango Helitack Crew looks to fill two or more seasonal positions. These positions are filled at the GS-4 or GS-5 level. We are looking for motivated, physically fit, hard-working and dedicated individuals. Applicants for these positions should prepare themselves both physically and mentally to endure a long and exhaustive season. Attributes that we look for include:

  • Diverse Backgrounds in Fire and Aviation Operations
  • Previous Firefighter Experience (1-2 Seasons).
  • Strong Work Ethic and Initiative
  • Positive Attitude and Ability to get along with others

Applicants desiring further information should contact the base for specific job announcement information.

Base Contact Information

Durango Helitack
100 CR 309A Ignacio, CO 81137

Gabe Vera – Helitack Supervisor

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