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Wildland Fire Training & Job Opportunities for Students and Recent Graduates

Are you currently in college and wondering what you’re going to do over winter break? Or maybe you’re about to graduate and need a job? Maybe you’ve always felt a calling to do something great to help conserve and preserve our natural resources?

Wildland fire management (including both prescribed fire and fire suppression) is an important part of the mission of the bureaus within the Department of the Interior. It is also important for bureaus within the Department of Agriculture, Department of Defense, state forestry and wildlife agencies, natural resource non-governmental agencies, and the forestry and wildlife private sector.

The majority of the duties performed by a wildland firefighters are outdoors. Most duties are related to prescribed burning, wildfire suppression, and fire preparedness. These duties can include serving as a firefighter or engine operator during prescribed burning and wildfire suppression activities; conducting regular maintenance and repairs on various equipment; and serving as a crew member during firebreak preparation. When not involved with fire related activities, you may provide assistance in conducting natural resources related project work. You may have the potential to assist federal or state agencies throughout the nation.

This video was made by the US Forest Service to give you a glimpse of wildland firefighting and to show what a great experience it can be.

If that video interests you, several federal agencies are currently looking for students and recent graduates to join their fire crews all over the country. Right now, there are over 450 positions open associated with wildland fire and fire suppression. USAJOBS is the website the government uses to post their job listings and for you to apply to them. Make sure you apply for any positions you would like ASAP! They are currently filling positions now!

The USDA website, FireHire for the Pacific Southwest region (a.k.a. “Region 5”) of the country is a great resource for students and recent grads trying to find jobs in wildland fire for that region of the country.

The Student Conservation Association (SCA) has many job opportunities available across the nation including a natural resources management area of focus that includes prescribed fire and fuel mitigation for young adults.

The Nature Conservancy (TNC) is a non-governmental organization involved in wildland fire management that has opportunities all around the country, and even in other parts of the world. TNC’s conservation goals include promoting integrated fire management to maintain fire’s role where it benefits nature and people while confronting destructive fires. Their GLOBE internships are focused on making environmental leaders out of recent college graduates. Career and internship opportunities can be found here.

Job Corps Centers around the country like the Schenck Job Corps in Pisgah Forest, NC partner with the US Forest Service to offer young adults training in advanced forestry which includes fire and fuels management. Click here to find a center in another state.

The US Department of the Interior’s (DOI) Bureau of Land Management (BLM) offers internship opportunities for students that are still in school through their internship program and jobs for recent graduates through their recent graduates program to get experience in wildland firefighting. For more information about both programs, click here.

The DOI also has a website solely dedicated to searching and applying for wildland fire jobs in any of the DOI’s departments here.

Good luck in your search!

By Johnathan Sutton and Courtney Johnson, NC State University students

Do you know of an opportunity not shown here or have questions about wildland fire? Please contact