Fire Management

The Midewin Interagency Hotshot Crew (IHC) is a wildland firefighting crew hosted by the Midewin Naitonal Tallgrass Prairie and administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Forest Service, in the Eastern Region (R9). The Midewin IHC is a national resource that responds to wildfires, prescribed fire/fuel reduction support and all-risk incidents.

Teamwork, crew cohesion, and pride are the cornerstones of the Midewin IHC program while we create and continue the proud heritage of our hotshot crew. Midewin IHC strives to maintain a work environment based on mutual respect and diversity of ideas that fosters crew pride and cohesiveness while at home and on assignments across the country.

Duties

The primary duties of a member of an IHC involve the suppression of wildland fires on assignments throughout the United States and Canada. Crewmembers are required to aggressively utilize all types of hand tools (to dig, chop, and cut) in order to suppress wildfires. The use of chainsaws, radios, ignition devices, and numerous other pieces of equipment may also be a requirement. Patrolling, serving as a lookout, mopping-up, and hiking long distances are also integral parts of the job.

Firefighting involves working under very hazardous conditions for long periods of time and Hotshot crews are expected to accept the most difficult and hazardous tasks. A typical shift is 16 hours and working for 24 hours without relief occurs. Firefighters often endure hot, smoky, dirty, and dusty working conditions with little sleep and poor food. Sleep deprivation is the norm and working with sharp tools, in the dark, on a steep hillside, under hazardous conditions is a common occurrence. Hotshots are frequently required to work for days at a time with only the 40 pounds of equipment carried in a fire pack. The work performed is extremely physically demanding and can be emotionally taxing. Together for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for 4 months, the crew eats, works, travels, and rests as a unit. Under these condition, compatibility, camaraderie, understanding, and crew pride are an absolute necessity. Availability

IHCs are required to be available for incident dispatch 24 hours a day, 7 days a week during the fire season. Each member of the crew is expected to be available, day or night, for every dispatch. During duty hours, the crew is required to be en route to the incident within 3 minutes, and for off-duty hour dispatches, the crew must be assembled and traveling to the incident within 2 hours. These regulations greatly restrict the personal travel of crewmembers and demand a high level of personal responsibility and commitment to the crew.

Travel

Travel is another important aspect of being a Hotshot. A typical fire season requires the crew to be away from the duty station for the majority of the six-month period. Long drives in crowded conditions must be endured and travel by airplane and helicopter often occurs.

Project Work

When not assigned to an incident, members of an IHC work a normal 40-hour week, but expect to work every weekend during fire season. Project work consists of hard manual labor performing a variety of forestry related duties.

 

Contact

For questions about the Crew, Hiring, and Detail opportunities contact:

Jerry Hoffman - Superintendent

Office - (815) 423-2121

Cell - (815) 210-0289

Email - jmhoffman@fs.fed.us

Logan Blankenship- Assistant Superintendent

Office - (815) 423-2122

Cell - (815) 216-8857

Email - lblankenship@fs.fed.us

Vacant - Squad Leader

Office - (815) 423-2177

Email

Nate Ochs - Squad Leader

Office - (815) 423-2145

Email - nochs@fs.fed.us

Jake Hauser- Squad Leader

Office - (815) 423-2174

Email - jhauser@fs.fed.us

Michael Bittner - Senior Firefighter

Office - (815) 423-2175

Email - mjbittner@fs.fed.us

Shaun Trabado - Senior Firefighter

Office - (815) 423-2175

Email - strabado@fs.fed.us

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https://www.fs.usda.gov/main/midewin/fire